Commitment to data, technology improves whole health outcomes

Victor DeStefano is passionate about the future of health care and the opportunities that Anthem’s investment in technology will create.

DeStefano, interim president for New York commercial business, recalled a specific situation where a patient benefited from the Empire’s  robust medical records system. This patient, a child, was experiencing blurred vision the week after an organ transplant.

When an ophthalmologist searched the patient’s history in the Anthem systems database, it was discovered that one of the medications prescribed post-surgery had “blurred vision” as a known side effect. The ophthalmologist contacted the child’s pulmonologist, who agreed the dosage of the medication needed to be lowered.

As the health care universe continues to evolve and innovate, the greatest opportunities leverage data. The transition from Empire to Anthem highlights a shared use of data across 14 Anthem markets.

Anthem’s data can improve patient outcomes.

In another case, DeStefano referenced the opportunities presented by a database that provides a transparent view of prescriptions throughout the Anthem network — even among dentists. This database would allow a medical provider to, for instance, verify whether a patient has already been prescribed an opioid by a dentist before potentially over-prescribing the pain-reducing drug, and vice-versa.

“We have the system to do that, so a participating dentist can easily get in touch with a patient’s physician to get the details,” DeStefano said. 

SydneySM Health app among suite of tech tools

DeStefano remembers waking up with a sore throat, worried that he might have strep throat and pass it on to his young children at home. It was 6 a.m. and urgent care clinics would not be open for hours, so DeStefano picked up his phone and logged into Anthem’s popular Sydney Health app.

“I texted with a doctor, and she had me send photos of my throat securely through the app,” DeStefano  said. The doctor set DeStefano’s mind at ease: he didn’t have strep throat. 

That immediate clarity, along with the easy access to care, is part of what DeStefano and other Empire leaders consider a game-changer for its members.

With more than 2.6 million users nationwide, Sydney Health is one of the industry’s fastest growing apps. But its capabilities transcend searching for care providers or explanations of benefits.

Members can use Sydney Health to check symptoms, schedule appointments and connect with providers using secure video or text chat at low or no additional cost.

One of the app’s compelling capabilities is its ability to help Anthem members establish a relationship with a primary care provider. While these virtual providers can provide urgent care for allergies, flu and skin rashes, they can also provide a comprehensive annual wellness visit, address more than 400 conditions, and help with management of chronic conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma.

“Our growing use of data and technology allows us to better understand and improve the health needs of our members,” DeStefano said.


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