‘Human-centered’ approach to healthcare innovation


Making the healthcare experience more convenient, effective, and less expensive.

In the past decade, no industry has undergone as much far-reaching transformation as healthcare. With advancements in science, medicine, and technology, not to mention the vast changes brought by the Affordable Care Act, healthcare companies that succeed must be ready to innovate at every juncture.

As a national healthcare company serving nearly 10 million people in 25 states, Independence Blue Cross and its affiliates understand this well. We have created a business strategy that focuses on encouraging and developing innovation in everything we do.

Through the Human-Centered Innovation Program, we aim to solve some of our nation’s most pressing healthcare problems by moving forward with promising ideas that put the needs of people and their physicians at the center of everything we do. And in doing so, we believe we can make the healthcare experience more convenient, more effective, and less expensive.

On the cutting edge

Today, information and technology are a driving force of innovation. They are critical for treating patients with the most comprehensive, convenient care possible, but also show incredible promise for preventing illness.

For example, we developed our own sophisticated scientific model that can identify who is at risk for serious health issues that could require a hospital visit. Then, we intervene to help lower that risk by offering customized programs and services that can help members stay well.

Our success rates have been so high-a 40% to 50% reduction in hospital admission rates among critically ill patients-that we’re expanding the program. We’ve collaborated with NYU Langone to identify those at risk for type 2 diabetes before they are diagnosed, and intervene before they become symptomatic. 

We’re also committed to bringing advances in oncology care to our members. That’s why we are so interested in companies such as NantHealth, which uses genomic information and medical data to develop personalized treatment plans for people with cancer and other diseases. We recently contracted with the company for whole genomic sequencing for members with certain types of cancer and are the first major insurer to cover this testing.

Related: First insurer covers whole genome sequencing for cancer

Next: Giving physicians and patients what they need



Giving physicians and patients what they need

We have also disrupted the status quo by rethinking the way primary care doctors practice with Tandigm Health. A joint investment between Independence and DaVita Healthcare Partners, Tandigm is a physician-led management company that provides more than 380 primary care physicians with the latest analytical tools and access to real-time data to help them better manage patients’ chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease. Tandigm physicians are rewarded for the quality of care they provide, not for the number of patients they see.

We are also investing in and collaborating with exciting new companies such as Biomeme and CareCam, which bring healthcare to the palm of your hand to improve outcomes and lower costs. Biomeme provides quick DNA testing and onsite disease tracking on smartphones. CareCam helps chronically ill patients stay well using mobile technology and video coaching.

Helping others succeed

Last May, Independence joined other industry leaders to form the CEO Council for Healthcare Innovation Collaborative. The goal is to connect early-stage health companies with large healthcare institutions to help them better understand the problems that need solving. These connections will make it easier for new companies to more quickly bring to market products and services that improve people’s health.

We don’t view ourselves as a healthcare company, but as an innovation company-powered by partnership, investment, and information. It all starts with putting the needs of people and their physicians at the center of everything we do.

Daniel J. Hilferty is the president and CEO of Independence Blue Cross. He is a member of the Managed Healthcare Executive editorial advisory board. 

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