Independence Blue Cross, Jefferson University form collaboration

Independence Blue Cross and Jefferson University have announced a new collaboration designed to boost innovation in health care across the region.

The Independence Blue Cross – Jefferson Health Innovation Collaboration will be jointly and equally funded up to $2 million by Independence and Jefferson, and the program will be run through the Independence Blue Cross Center for Health Care Innovation and Jefferson’s Innovation Pillar. The collaboration will begin July 1.

Established in February 2014, Independence’s Center for Health Care Innovation houses a wide range of innovation initiatives and champions health care entrepreneurism in the region. Jefferson’s Innovation Pillar is an initiative to elevate and lead innovation as a mission for the university and health system.

Through a variety of programs, the combined teamwork of Jefferson and Independence in this new Health Innovation Collaboration will generate novel ideas and help nurture them to grow. The collaboration will focus on ways to improve patients’ health care experience, help people better manage their own health, help physicians and hospitals transform care delivery to improve quality and value, and develop future health care professionals.

Strengthening the relationship between Independence and Jefferson, the collaboration will draw on the experience of Jefferson’s Innovation Pillar and the Jefferson Accelerator Zone, as well as the Independence Blue Cross Center for Health Care Innovation, which among its many activities, invests in DreamIt Health start-up companies and other promising health-related businesses.

“We are very excited to work collaboratively with the new Jefferson in this important leap forward, innovating into a dynamic future to create a vibrant environment in which we jointly reimagine health care,” said Independence President and CEO Daniel J. Hilferty.

“Our efforts will help unlock the potential of Philadelphia to become a global magnet for health care innovation, bringing together the best minds and brightest ideas.”

The initiatives the collaboration will pursue include an Entrepreneur-in-Residence program for clinicians and researchers who have promising discoveries that will need more dedicated time and proof-of-concept support. The Entrepreneurs-in Residence will also participate in education curriculum in entrepreneurship and an innovation engagement speaker series. Other examples of initiatives the collaboration will pursue include health hackathons, events at which people interested in problem solving work intensely to “hack” into usable solutions to important health care issues, including reducing hospital readmissions, designing wearable devices that improve health care delivery and other cutting edge technology applications.

“Independence Blue Cross is a national leader in rethinking how to move the needle on quality. Jefferson is well positioned to partner with Independence in realizing these goals in concrete ways,” said Dr. Stephen K. Klasko, president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health.

“We anticipate that the Entrepreneur-in-Residence program will be a pivot point for moving new ideas forward and changing what we do and how we do it, in multiple aspects of health care.”

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