Picwell, a recommendation engine to use predictive analytics to rate consumer health plan options according to individual needs, announced its official launch.
The platform combines big data, predictive analytics, behavioral economics and machine learning with consumer-friendly user interfaces and engagement tools that integrate into health care exchanges and benefits platforms.
The end result enables exchanges to quickly and seamlessly organize and analyze more than 900,000 variables that affect plan selection and present the highest recommended plans to participants based on their individual needs.
"Health is an extremely complex business with a lot of white noise and fuzziness. It's easy to compare a unit cost to a unit cost. What's not easy is when you bring in lifestyles, personalized medicine and quality—which are all relatively vague," Jay Silverstein, CEO of Picwell, told eWEEK. "Picwell is trying to build models with all the power of big data so that a consumer avoids having to be an expert in every nuance of health plan selection. If a tool doesn't make things easier, better, simpler, faster for the consumer in a way that consumers can understand, then it really isn't achieving its full value."
Before leading Picwell, Silverstein formerly held executive roles at UnitedHealthcare, Oxford Health Plans, HealthNet, Revolution Health and most recently, Medco Health Solutions.
He pointed out the health industry has been using big data before it was called big data.
"Health is, by nature, big data," Silverstein said. "What hasn't yet happened is using all of the data that is available to help consumers make better decisions when it comes to their health and health plans."
One of the first to employ Picwell's technology is Aon Hewitt, a talent, retirement and health solutions business of Aon.
The two companies recently finalized a multi-year, exclusive partnership to integrate Picwell's technology into the Aon Retiree Health Exchange, which serves more than 300,000 retirees and their families.
"Our role is to enable the individuals to make the best decision for themselves and to be able to do it with more confidence and with greater ease," Silverstein said. "The downstream impact of that, depending on the provider, is a happier customer. From a business prospective, Picwell is able to reduce the selling and transaction costs and improve selling rates. The overall impact is better, faster, cheaper and a reduced overall cost for society."
Based in Philadelphia, Picwell is made up of team of health care business veterans, technologists and renowned academic thinkers.
The executive team includes Jonathan Kolstad, assistant professor at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; Robert Town, associate professor in the health care management department at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania; Tom Baker, the William Maul Measey Professor of Law and Health Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania Law School; and chief technology officer, Ani Vemprala.