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MedPage Today: Healthcare Disruptors: Aids to Navigation for Patients

Accolade is a healthcare technology company trying to simplify the decision-making process for patients. The service provides access to a personal healthcare assistant and a team of nurses. Members can get on-demand help choosing a health plan, finding in-network treatments, or determining a copay. The company also uses population health interventions to identify care needs among their patients. Daniel Polsky, PhD, a health economist and professor at Johns Hopkins University, said that Accolade’s services fill a gap in the value-based healthcare model — that is, engaging patients. Value-based care has created new contracts between clinicians and payers, Polsky said, but patients are not always sure how to “shop” for quality medical services. Personalized healthcare advocacy may help bridge that gap, depending on the patient’s health plan. “[Accolade] makes sense within the context of our current system,” Polsky told MedPage Today. “It fills that unique niche of how to navigate the new-fangled contracts between providers and payers.” Polsky added that Accolade can have an impact by taking a “multi-year view” of medical care. Population health solutions that aim to increase primary care earlier on, before patients face serious illness, may model large-scale changes. “It can offer a window into a healthcare system that does work better for society,” Polsky said. The company went public in July at a $1.2-billion valuation. Read more at Medpage Today.