Dr. Mark Boxer, CIGNA

INDUSTRY: Healthcare

Would you call Cigna a data company? Tell us about some of the data-centric initiatives that your organization has undertaken.

When I talk about Cigna and its mission, I also express how we are just as much a technology and data company as we are a leading health care services company. Now, as Cigna joins forces with pharmacy benefits leader, Express Scripts, we have access to clinical data assets and data capabilities that are unmatched in the industry. With this, we are optimizing data and analytics in ways that are transforming the health care landscape.

Take our response to the growing opioid epidemic for example. Cigna has developed a risk model which uses integrated pharmacy claim’s data and analytics to detect patterns of possible misuse that could lead to a greater risk of an overdose within the subsequent 30 days. These proprietary algorithms primarily help save lives. They also decrease health care costs as we work with physicians and third parties to reduce opioid use among patients.

Our machine learning-enabled tool, called One Guide, analyzes data from medical claims and procedures, benefits coverage, patient biometrics as well as pharmacy claims to anticipate customer needs. It can identify customers who have not used financial incentives for annual checkups or free health coaching, and also send out personalized messages through Cigna’s mobile app.

Another program, Answers by Cigna, is an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled chatbot on our mobile search platform. Using natural language processing, it deciphers and then responds to more than 150 common health- and coverage-related questions with personalized information. The effort is driving better engagement as well as customer satisfaction.

Cigna also launched the first-of-its-kind AI-driven, end-to-end stress management solution. It can detect stress in real time using biometric measurements from a wearable device and a machine learning algorithm. Through a set of measures that includes facial movement, emotional and tone analysis, we are introducing targeted interventions to minimize the detrimental impact of stress before it triggers. 

These are just some of the ways Cigna is applying data and technology to improve quality, manage affordability and optimize the patient experience for better health outcomes.  

What was Cigna’s incentive to become a Founding Member of the IEIC? Are you one among the firsts in the industry to make such an effort?

The Internet impacts nearly every aspect of our modern life today. In relation to the customer experience, if it’s not mobile, it’s not relevant. Owing to our focus in this area, access to information, services and communication has become significantly easier. It has also transformed business and service models across countless industries. In the health services space, digital technologies have enabled us to provide care virtually, improve the customer experience and support individuals who work remotely.

The expansion of online connectivity and communication technologies has given physicians greater access to medical resources and evidence-based medicine. Health care professionals in rural areas can use the Internet to communicate with experts from around the world, so as to improve patient diagnoses and treatments. Clinics and hospitals can process medical data to help patients better manage their conditions and optimize staffing requirements.

In my opinion as a public health professional and technologist, technology, connectivity and innovation hold considerable promise to further evolve the system. Additionally, proper functioning, positioning and expansion of the global Internet is essential for ongoing evolution. I’m privileged to represent Cigna as a founding member of the IEIC and the first from the health care industry. Cigna has a clear mission: to improve the health, well-being and peace of mind of those we serve. With our expertise, we can amplify the IEIC’s efforts to propel future infrastructure services and support greater economic growth potential.

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