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Independence Blue Cross and Drexel University team on new research partnership

Potential study areas include predicting members at risk for chronic health issues

Philadelphia, PA – The Independence Blue Cross (Independence) Center for Health Care Innovation today announced a new collaboration with Drexel University on several research projects aimed at improving the delivery of health care. Researchers are currently evaluating a number of areas for study including:

  • Identifying Independence members at risk for hospitalization and re-hospitalization, as well as identifying members who would benefit from Independence’s chronic disease outreach programs;
  • Applying machine learning techniques to unstructured data, such as notes from members’ interactions with doctors and other health professionals, to predict future health problems or customer service issues;
  • Evaluating health interventions that can reduce the number of avoidable emergency department visits;
  • Improving the detection of fraudulent claims, predicting when fraud is likely to occur, and developing strategies to help members protect their medical identity.

“The future of health care is dependent upon finding new ways to use technology and information to predict illness and prevent health problems before they develop,” said Independence President and CEO Daniel J. Hilferty. “This exciting, new research initiative, with one of our region’s premier universities, will help us discover and expand ways to improve health outcomes, lower health care costs, and enrich our members’ health care experience.”

Independence and Drexel also teamed up in 2012 to create a business analytics certificate program for Independence associates through the Krall Center for Corporate and Executive Education in the University’s LeBow College of Business. Now in its third year, the program focuses on developing a deeper understanding of how to make data-based decisions and teaches analytic techniques that can be used to identify opportunities to enhance health care quality and services.

“We are pleased to expand our partnership with Independence Blue Cross and help apply analytics expertise to the challenges of health care,” said Drexel University President John A. Fry. “Working alongside one of the key players in health care in the region, Drexel has the opportunity to advance our goal of improving the quality of life for Philadelphians.”

“We’re already seeing some impressive early results from informatics projects we’ve designed, as well other research partnerships we’ve initiated, to improve our members’ health,” said Somesh Nigam, Ph.D., Independence’s senior vice president and chief informatics officer. “We’re going to see tremendous growth in machine learning and predictive analytics over the next few years, and it’s very exciting for Independence to be at the center of that work.”  Nigam added that all patient data Independence provides for the research will comply with HIPAA regulations and will be securely maintained at all times.

About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross
is the leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. With our affiliates, we serve more than 9 million people nationwide, including 2.5 million in the region. For more than 75 years, we have been enhancing the health and wellness of the people and communities we serve by delivering innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneering new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and supporting programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more about how we’re changing the game, visit . Connect with us on Facebook at and on Twitter at @ibx. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Drexel University

Founded in 1891 in Philadelphia, Drexel is the nation’s 14th largest private university and is ranked among the best national universities by U.S. News & World Report. Drexel is widely recognized for its focus on experiential learning through its co-operative education program and translational research initiatives.

Media contact
Ruth Stoolman
Independence Blue Cross
215-241-4807 (office)
215-280-3335 (cell)