McKesson-RedBrick Partnership May Enhance Member Experience

G00262280

Analyst(s):

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Summary

The alignment of McKesson Care Management and RedBrick is a response to demand for a better member experience. Clients and prospects should watch to see if integration demonstrates improved engagement and behavior change.

News Analysis

Event

On 28 January 2014, McKesson Care Management, a veteran payer care management vendor, and RedBrick Health, an engagement and wellness vendor in the employer market, announced a strategic partnership to integrate their products into a joint offering to the payer market. Technical integration work is now in progress, with anticipated first client delivery by this fall.

Analysis

The alignment of McKesson care management and RedBrick is promising:

  • A major care management player has acknowledged rising demand for better member experience.

  • Vendors in the employer wellness space may drive behavior change in more clinically complex care plans and access the more scalable health plan market.

  • Clients and prospects of McKesson's Versatile Interoperable Technology Advancing Lives (VITAL) platform may see a new openness to innovative thinking and technology.

Vendors of payer care management workflow applications have been slow to adopt leading-edge member engagement capabilities. Innovation proceeds among health and wellness companies serving large employers, fueled by interest in creating a "culture of wellness."

RedBrick's engagement platform reduces fragmentation of experience and delivery, and allows clients to create a personalized experience. Clients select components such as online education modules, incentive campaigns, biometric screenings and wellness devices, and can measure progress toward goals. The experience can be delivered via mobile device, Web app or telephone.

McKesson is a large and longstanding vendor in the payer care management market that made its name applying evidence-based clinical content to care management. Its primary care management technology, the VITAL platform, manifests this strength but lags in engagement capabilities, and generates some concern over a lack of innovative thinking and commitment to development.

Gartner research has shown there is a huge opportunity to revolutionize care management engagement, and that member experience must be treated as an explicit use case of care management technology.

Success depends on the depth of integration and synchronization between the McKesson and RedBrick platforms and the timeline of the development work, neither of which has been disclosed. Early phases will offer simple integration, where care managers using VITAL can assign “homework” via RedBrick technology and receive feedback on its completion. This mirrors the integration RedBrick currently supports with its coaching and live support partners. The greatest value in terms of member experience and care manager efficiency may only emerge when there is full exchange of content and communications.

Ultimately, the proof of the value of the partnership will be measured in behavior change and, to a lesser extent, member affinity for the payer brand. It will take some time and experimentation for that picture to emerge.

Recommendations

Healthcare payers with McKesson’s VITAL or Coordinated Care Management System (CCMS) platform: Compare the member experience in your care management program to what is available through the partnership with RedBrick. Integration between these two platforms, if substantial, may offer a superior member experience.

Healthcare payers selecting a care management workflow application: If you have excluded McKesson on the basis of a lack of innovative or member engagement capability, reconsider in light of the RedBrick partnership. During the sales process, demand a detailed integration road map.

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