The company is led by Allon Bloch, CEO and co-founder of K Health

There are three main barriers to efficiently and effectively addressing the health care it needs: cost, convenience and access. These are by no means new problems, but they are not getting any better. For example, the cost of care in the U.S. was $ 3.6 trillion, or 17.7 percent of GDP, as of 2018. In the first half of 2020, nearly half of US adults were considered insufficiently insured, while 12.5 percent remain completely uninsured.

These problems are inherent in the healthcare system and require a lot of effort and money to move the needle. That’s why three big names in the space – an insurer, an investor, and a virtual care company – have decided to join forces to finally take action against them.

On Wednesday, K Health and the funds managed by Blackstone Growth announced the creation of a new healthcare joint venture called Hydrogen Health. The company is also supported by Anthem health insurance company (the amount invested has not been disclosed). Together, the three companies aim to improve access to basic services for millions of people by using technology and shared knowledge to reduce costs.

“Hydrogen Health will act as a care market so that consumers – insured and uninsured – can receive additional services when needed. It will include an integrated suite of products including behavioral health, pediatrics and other specialties,” said Allon Bloch, CEO and co-employee Founder of K Health told me. In the future, Bloch will also act as CEO of Hydrogen Health.

New York-based K Health, founded in October 2016, uses AI and machine learning to enable users to look up their symptoms. This allows users to see doctors diagnose and treat similar people with similar symptoms for free.

Users first chat with an AI trained on a data set of billions of anonymized clinical data points, taking into account a user’s gender, age, acute symptoms, and other biomarkers to show users exactly how other people like them dealt with symptoms and symptoms are conditions. This can include mental health, back pain, headache, abdominal pain, chest pain, rashes, fatigue, sexually transmitted diseases, and bladder infections, among others.

K Health now has over 4 million users and more than 7.3 million health dialogs on the platform.

“It is clear that today’s healthcare industry is not evolving at a pace to meet the needs of our populations. K Health offers a solution that provides affordable and reliable 24/7 basic care for the whole family on a large scale,” said Bloch.

“Hydrogen Health will bring K Health’s digital primary care solution to new markets, including the insured market, leveraging K Health’s unique combination of AI and world-class doctors.”

Blackstone is an investment firm with over $ 619 billion in assets under management, including investment vehicles with a focus on private equity, real estate, sovereign debt and equity, and life sciences. Some of his investments in the latter include Anthos Therapeutics, Reata Pharmaceuticals, and Medtronic.

Anthem, based in Indianapolis, is now the second largest health insurance company in the country and accounts for almost 10 percent of all premiums. The company, an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, currently serves more than 110 million people in California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky and Maine, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin.

This is not the first time K Health and Anthem have worked together: two years ago they jointly launched Sydney Care, Anthem’s mobile app that acts as a personal health assistant. This company, Bloch said, has proven that a virtual primary care solution can give medical offices the tools they need and give patients the better care they deserve.

“This means employers can save money with AI-driven care counseling, gig economy workers can get cheaper health insurance, and the underinsured have a wider range of options to get the care they need at better prices,” he told me.

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