Anthem hires former Google search chief to lead AI efforts
- Anthem is ramping up investment in artificial intelligence, bringing on former Google search head Udi Manber to lead its AI group.
- Manber, who has held senior positions at Yahoo and Amazon, most recently helped establish a research and development center for the National Institutes of Health in the Bay Area. At Anthem, he will serve as chief AI officer, the company confirmed.
- As part of his role, which is new to Anthem, Manber is expected to build out the payer's AI group. Current job listings on Anthem's website include an AI principal data scientist and AI senior data scientist, both located in Palo Alto, California.
With AI becoming more ubiquitous, big payers are feeling pressure to keep pace with more technology-focused insurance startups like Oscar Health and Devoted Health. Payers want to know what to do with the Big Data they've amassed and how to parlay it to improve patient outcomes and experience.
A check of job openings at Aetna, Humana and UnitedHealth show dozens of data scientist positions.
In August, Anthem teamed up with blockchain-based AI platform doc.ai to explore whether AI can be used to predict when people will experience allergic reactions. A year-long clinical trial to identify predictive models for allergies is underway.
Such AI-powered studies could assist with population health efforts by encouraging consumers to share real-time personal health information with doctors and researchers to better predict and improve outcomes. If AI platforms can improve care, they'll save money, too.
Payers are also looking at how AI can help doctors make more informed decisions for patients when it comes to prescribing medications, resulting in safer and faster treatments. "Probably the group that would be most interested would be payers, and I would think it would be almost like a quality control check," Louis Culot, general manager of oncology informatics and genomics at Philips, recently told BioPharma Dive.
Culot pointed to payers' current use of rules engines to approve or deny reimbursement requests, noting AI takes and improves on that process by drawing on larger data sets of clinical information and real-world evidence to come up with the best treatment option.
Manber joined Google in 2006, serving as vice president of engineering in charge of search products. Before that, he was a senior vice president responsible for algorithms at Amazon and chief scientist at Yahoo. He left Google in 2015 to work on the NIH research center.