Humana Unveils AI for Healthcare at Consumer Electronics Show


As the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas got into full swing this week there were the typical presentations everyone expects around the Internet of Things (IoT), robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), and immersive entertainment… oh to be able to play Fortnite in full VR.

But a growing portion of the show is dedicated to an area that doesn’t immediately jump to mind when thinking about electronics. And, which has a major new company that is hurling both investment dollars and resources into consumer electronics paired with big data.

So, as you wander past the display of a robot serving your favorite cocktail, you may be surprised to see a large display manned by employees from Humana (HUM)

In late 2018, Humana, primarily a Medicare Advantage company, opened Studio H in Boston to hone and focus its digital product offering strategy. CEO Bruce Broussard said the company chose Boston because of “the rich history of great medical advances” in the city.

As part of that strategy, Broussard brought in Heather Cox, the former USAA Chief Technology Officer, to spearhead the digital advance. Cox was tasked with filling the 40,000 square foot Studio H with up to 300 employees, whose mission is to bring Humana customers digital access and interaction with the healthcare giant.

At CES this week, Cox has been on hand to pitch the benefits of the company’s new digital interactive avatar, “Buddy”. Using a tablet or their phone, customers with chronic conditions which may require constant monitoring, can interact with Buddy and provide valuable data on their status.

Buddy, as Cox describes it, is a combination of AI and human interaction, with AI handling around 40% of the workload and an actual person participating in 60% of the interaction with the customer. 

In addition to Buddy, Studio H has been responsible for a new app offered by Humana that uses their Medicare information to recommend a range of health plans they can choose from during open enrollment. 

The advent of such digital tools can lead to a win-win for Humana, boosting the company’s share price by optimizing big data and machine learning, and ensuring customers receive the most relevant product for their healthcare needs.

The ultimate goal, as Cox describes it, is for Humana to be able to provide a “longitudinal health record” where a patient, or care provider, can go to see a patient’s entire health history in one place. The capability exists; it’s just a matter of stitching everything together. 

So, when you’re looking for stock news in the consumer electronics arena, don’t be surprised to see Humana pop up in the news feed more often, as the company expands its digital presence.

Steven Adams’s personal position in Humana: none.

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