A ground-breaking concept we call Human-Centered Innovation is the foundation of problem-solving and decision-making that is driving Independence Blue Cross as we re-imagine health care. To create successful health care solutions, we asked those we insure, the group customers many of them work for and our business partners — hospitals, physicians and many others — the following:
- “How can we help our members stay well?”
- “How are our products working for you?”
- “How can we improve our services to better meet your needs?”
Over the past year, we have poured our energy into disrupting the status quo in health care by doing more, doing it differently, and doing it better. We strengthened our commitment to put the member at the center of everything we do, which is the essence of Human-Centered Innovation.
We’re moving forward with the freshest and most promising ideas: partnering on research to create dynamic new models of care, nurturing the country’s most promising health-related startups, and much more. Here are the activities that are at the forefront of this program:
- Forging powerful partnerships and collaborations
By partnering with influential thought leaders, leading businesses and top health care providers, we are tilling fertile ground to nurture the future of health care. In May, we joined with area leaders in medicine, technology and health care to form the CEO Council for Health Care Innovation Collaboration. Its other founding members are the Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Comcast, Safeguard Scientifics, Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health System, the University of Pennsylvania Health System and Drexel University. The goal is to connect newly-launched health care companies with large institutions like ours to help them better understand the problems that need to be resolved. These connections make it easier for new companies to more quickly bring to market products and services that improve people’s health. Among exciting projects now underway include exploring the use of drones and wearable technology to monitor or improve health, and seeking novel uses of technology to prevent hospital readmissions.
- Using technology, research and data analytics to solve health problems
We are using cutting-edge information and technology tools to help our members stay healthier. We developed our own sophisticated scientific model, which is more accurate than others in the market. It identifies which critically ill members have the highest likelihood of hospitalization; then, it guides us to lower that risk by offering customized programs and services that help members stay well. The successes of this program have produced a 40 to 50 percent reduction in hospital admission or re-admission rates among critically ill patients. We’ve responded by expanding our predictive analytics program. We are collaborating with the Langone Center at NYU Hospital to identify those at risk for Type II diabetes before they are diagnosed, and to intervene before they become symptomatic. We are engaged with Drexel University to explore potential collaborations. With major research universities as partners, the implications for better health care management and cost savings are enormous. We support other technologies that improve patient health. On average, up to 50 percent of patients fail to take medications when they should. We have invested in two startup companies that focus on medication adherence: TowerView Health and GlowCap, local startups whose products help chronically ill patients manage medications. We also invested in CareCam, a care-coordination platform delivered through a smartphone; it enables members to better manage chronic conditions.
- Closing care gaps to improve health
We have harnessed information to eliminate gaps in patient care through NaviNet, an electronic pipeline that delivers patients’ health insurance benefits directly to their physicians. Independence Blue Cross owns NaviNet, along with two other Blue insurers. NaviNet is the nation’s largest real-time, secure communications network that connects patients with their insurers, physicians and hospital networks. Today, 60 percent of the nation’s physicians and more than 40 health insurance companies are connected to NaviNet.
- Investing in, piloting and mentoring health-related businesses
We have taken a leadership role in our region and across the nation by strategically investing in smart, creative businesses that will change the lives and health status of Americans. Now in its third year, Dreamit Health, which we launched with Penn Medicine and Dreamit Ventures, is Philadelphia’s first health care business incubator. It provides $50,000 in funding, office space at the University Science Center in Philadelphia, legal advice and counsel, and mentorship to each of the 10 promising early-stage startups it selects annually. To date, Dreamit Health has supported 27 health-related innovation companies. A majority are in Philadelphia, including several that moved here. The 2015 class of Dreamit startups will tackle health issues ranging from preventing concussions to helping working professionals care for aging parents. Their Dreamit experience will culminate in Demo Day on October 26, when each startup will share its plans with several hundred industry leaders, investors, potential customers and media.
- Creating new models of care that put people first
With a goal of helping patients stay well, we re-thought the way primary care doctors practice medicine. We did that by creating a new, human-centered model of care, called Tandigm Health.Working with DaVita Health Care Partners, we founded this Pennsylvania-based, physician-led company. We believe it will change health care in our region by providing more than 350 primary care physicians with real-time data and the latest analytical tools to better manage patients’ chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Tandigm physicians are rewarded for the quality of care they provide, not for the number of patients they see. If Tandigm can have an impact in Philadelphia, one of the largest and most expensive health care markets in our country, it has the potential to work wonders in markets across America.
- Sharing experience and knowledge through industry-wide training
Our associates at Independence Blue Cross promote innovative thinking and a human-first mentality. They put members first, and view every interaction through Human-Centered Innovation. We applied this knowledge to help educate consumers about the Affordable Care Act and to assist them in finding the right coverage. Often, this has occurred in our Independence Express, a mobile unit that has helped about 250,000 people in Pennsylvania and New Jersey obtain health coverage.
Through these experiences, our associates have become experts in consumer education and customer service. We are proud of our success in internal training and consumer education.