Bain and Amazon partner with NYC insurer to support vulnerable members

Insurer MetroPlus collaborated with consulting firm Bain & Company and Amazon Web Services to create a chatbot solution that helps connect vulnerable members to social services in the midst of the pandemic.

Lockdowns and shelter-in-place policies helped to reduce Covid-19 exposure risk, but also created new challenges for individuals, such as access to food, social services, and healthcare.

MetroPlus Health Plan, which insures more than 500,000 people in New York City, set out to identify members who were at risk of being hospitalized (e.g. lung disease, immunocompromised) so that it could connect them with medical and social services. MetroPlus identified 85,000 at-risk members who would need additional support services.

The non-profit insurer wanted to address the areas of emotional support, access to a medical provider, pharmacy refills, and challenges in accessing food and unemployment support.

MetroPlus, however, saw that calling members would take approximately three months. As such, it reached out to the NYC Covid-19 Rapid Response Coalition, a group of social services, healthcare, and technology companies formed in March to tackle pandemic-related issues. MetroPlus was connected with Amazon Web Services and Bain & Company to create a solution for quick, rapid outreach.

Bain and Amazon partner with NYC insurer to support vulnerable members

AWS volunteered to build a chatbot that could reach members by text message and forward them to available resources, including a questionnaire on their needs. Bain provided pro bono project management, and helped determine which messages worked best with recipients.

The texting/chatbot solution – which was built across several AWS technologies including Alexa – reached 54,000 members, with 9% engaging the chatbot. 2,700 people shared a medical or social need, and approximately 1,500 members were connected to MetroPlus or its nonprofit partner AirNYC, which supports people with chronic health conditions.

AirNYC then assisted members who needed help getting food or unemployment benefits. MetroPlus also worked with community-based organization referral platform NowPow to find other nonprofits that could help with the initiative.

Amanda Parsons, MetroPlusHealth’s deputy chief medical officer, said, “We are always concerned about the health and well-being of all our members, but when a crisis like COVID-19 hits, we know the most vulnerable and high-risk are disproportionately impacted. In a matter of days, we were able to deploy a solution that enabled us to reach individuals at high risk for poor COVID-19 outcomes and identify, and address, their health and social risks during this crisis.”

Amazon plans to publish the code used in the project so other health and social organizations can use the chatbot to reach people quickly and effectively. The tech firm is currently working with Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn on a similar initiative.

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