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As the U.S. health-care industry goes through the most significant change it has faced in decades, one of the country’s largest health insurers, WellPoint, is responding by using technology to change how the company operates. Lori Beer, WellPoint’s executive vice president of specialty businesses and information technology, talks about how technology lowers costs and helps doctors and nurses be more efficient and effective.
Beer explains how WellPoint, which operates a number of Blue Cross and Blue Shield units, is using analytics to devise ways to help health-care providers work more efficiently. The company is the first commercial adopter of IBM’s Watson technology, made famous by beating Jeopardy champions in head-to-head competition; WellPoint is among other things using Watson to help diagnose patients. WellPoint is also looking at aggressively expanding use of technologies that allow telemedicine and home-based medical care, which should help cut some of the costs and complications for people with chronic conditions.