Better Launches with Blue Shield of California


Every year, $8 billion is spent on programs promising to help people improve their health, increase workplace productivity, and reduce healthcare costs. Yet there’s growing evidence that these programs have largely failed to achieve these objectives.

Blue Shield of California (BSC), an innovative health insurer with 4.3 million members, has launched a digital therapeutics platform to phase out these programs, which Bryce Williams, Vice President, Lifestyle Medicine, calls “zombies.” The platform features a selection of about 70 digital health apps (out of more than 300,000 currently available in the Apple App Store), curated for clinical effectiveness and consumer preference.

“For BSC, this digital therapeutics platform offers members access to solutions that can address minor to major health concerns, from reducing stress to reversing type 2 diabetes,” said Angie Kalousek, Director of Markets. Solera Health developed the platform, including the matching logic for connecting insured members with provider solutions based on their interests and health conditions.

Following a successful pilot with BSC last year, Better launched its program for reversing type 2 diabetes and heart disease on this platform. BSC members matched with Better will be enrolled in Better’s intensive behavioral therapy program designed to treat and reverse cardiometabolic diseases by changing the behaviors that cause them. By improving health and quality of life, while reducing the ongoing need for costly medications, patients and payers benefit. When agreed-upon performance milestones are met, Solera will process claims for reimbursement.

“We're looking at a new age in the way that medicine is being delivered and I think that digital therapeutics is the wave of the future,” said Kalousek.

BSC’s initiative represents further acceptance and adoption of digital therapeutics. It follows the recent launch of a digital health solutions platform by CVS Caremark and pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts’ announcement of a stand-alone digital health formulary.

“Momentum is building towards market acceptance and reimbursement of clinically-validated digital therapeutics for treating serious diseases. By working with innovative health plans now, prior to FDA approval of our first prescription digital therapeutic for treating type 2 diabetes, we set the foundation for prescription reimbursement,” said Kevin Appelbaum, CEO. “We are gathering real world evidence of clinical and cost effectiveness, using the data to inform treatment and predictive algorithms to optimize individual outcomes, and continuously improving product design, content, and user experience.”