Payor Partner | Smart Health Innovation Lab

Working Together to Help Innovation Improve Healthcare

What happens when you bring together healthcare technology entrepreneurs, payors, health systems, providers and clinical experts to improve health outcomes? You get collaboration, insight, and results seldom so rapidly achieved in the healthcare industry. The Smart Health Innovation Lab (iLab) is where it all comes together.

Founded to advance healthcare technologies that help achieve the Quadruple Aim, the lab is celebrating its inaugural year with successes. Its first class graduated from the state-of-the-art facility after completing the 12-week certification program newly equipped with enhanced business models, opportunities to pilot their technologies with a large health system, and greater potential to accelerate market adoption of their products.

As a health insurer, Capital BlueCross’ mission is to improve the health and well-being of our members and the communities in which they live. We’re enthusiastic about the opportunities for improved healthcare the iLab and its entrepreneurial companies will bring to the people we serve and to healthcare more globally. We value our role in educating and nurturing these companies and improving their chances of success. By bringing the unique experiences and expertise of a payor to the table, Capital BlueCross is able to offer a wealth of information including mentorship and coaching not otherwise readily accessible to a start-up company. Combined with the contributions of the other founding members of the iLab, growing and innovative healthcare companies accepted into our program receive a powerful boost to their goals of effecting change and achieving broad market adoption.

While accepted companies have already achieved a level of success by proving they have a product or service that can make a positive difference in healthcare, they generally have not secured any enterprise contracts with large health systems or reimbursement from large payors. Many times, their original business model is centered on individual or small clients, and they don’t understand what growth strategy is required to scale and integrate their technology to achieve further advancement in the market. This was evident for the first graduating class when it became clear that the young companies “didn’t know what they didn’t know.” That quickly changed as a result of the immersive nature of the iLab program where the entrepreneurs received unparalleled access to experts who provided them with information they otherwise would have gained through extensive and lengthy trial and error or expensive consultants.

The education began early in the 12-week certification process during the iLab orientation. Capital BlueCross contributed to acquainting the companies with the iLab process, and what to expect. We also hosted the companies’ executives for a day at our Harrisburg, Pa. headquarters. There they had the unique opportunity to meet in our board room with executives from various areas of our company, including Clinical Solutions, Medical Policy and Coding, Network Management, Provider Partnerships, Information Technology, Business Development and Pharmacy. The companies received an overview of Capital BlueCross and health insurance, in general. Of particular interest to the companies was information on the BlueCross BlueShield Association, including its history and how its licensees operate and function. More importantly, they had opportunities throughout the day to informally interact with our senior leadership. During the course of their time at the iLab, the resident companies learned information crucial to gaining broader market adoption, such as the importance of complying with HIPAA, integrating with electronic medical records, and understanding medical policy as well as payment coding and billing. Among a myriad other facts essential to working effectively in healthcare, they learned how to reduce costs by considering such factors as site of service, and how to apply the “Quadruple Aim”–all knowledge essential to accelerating their integration into the healthcare market.

The other founding members of the lab were equally generous in offering insights and information to the iLab’s inaugural class. Strong relationships were formed that didn’t end with a graduation certificate. The iLab serves as an ongoing resource as the companies continue to navigate the complexities of the healthcare industry. Capital BlueCross values the relationships we built with our first class and looks forward to supporting future classes and innovations to come.