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Independence Blue Cross Announces “IBX Game Changers Challenge”

Six-week competition seeks innovative solutions that can improve our region’s health and wellness

Philadelphia, PA – Independence Blue Cross (IBX) today announced the “IBX Game Changers Challenge: Enhancing health and wellness through innovation.” Launched in partnership with Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs, the Department of Public Health of the City of Philadelphia, ?What If! Innovation Partners, and Venturef0rth, the Challenge is a six-week competition seeking innovative solutions that can improve our region’s health and wellness.

“We could not be more excited to announce the launch of the IBX Game Changers Challenge,” said IBX President and CEO Daniel J. Hilferty. “By harnessing the creative energies of our community and soliciting solutions that can improve our region’s health and wellness, we are leading the way with our partners toward creating a healthier community.”

The need for urgent action is clear, Hilferty explained. A recent study published by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranked Philadelphia last of 67 Pennsylvania counties in matters related to health. Men’s Health and Women’s Health magazines also rated Philadelphia at the bottom of their 2009 lists of the 100 healthiest cities across America (Philadelphia came in 98th for men, 97th for women). The rankings were based on factors such as smoking prevention, diet and exercise, access to medical care such as routine preventive health checkups and screenings, and other community and economic factors.

“The health of our community affects us all, and the poor status of Philadelphia’s health, as indicated in a these studies, is simply unacceptable,” said Hilferty. “The health issues these studies highlight require fresh, creative approaches and out-of-the-box thinking; through the IBX Challenge, we want to change the game to make a difference in the health and wellness of the region.”

By inviting the region’s entrepreneurs, health care professionals, college students, technology experts, and others to submit high-impact ideas that can scale up to support healthy lifestyles and improve the overall health and wellness of Philadelphia and the surrounding region, IBX seeks to serve as a catalyst for health care innovation and improve indicators of the region’s health and wellness.

“The Department of Public Health is proud to partner with Independence Blue Cross on the Game Changers Challenge and its significant commitment to improving the health and wellness of the region,” said Donald F. Schwarz, Health Commissioner and Deputy Mayor for Health and Opportunity. “Through initiatives such as Get Healthy Philly, the city is looking to increase the availability and affordability of healthy foods, decrease consumption of unhealthy foods and beverages, and increase physical activity among Philadelphians. The IBX Game Changers Challenge complements these initiatives nicely, and we are excited about its potential impact.”

The IBX Game Changers Challenge seeks software applications, devices, products, education programs, or public awareness campaigns that can deliver a positive impact on our region’s health, with special emphasis on driving healthy behaviors such as eating right and getting fit. Entries can propose creating one-time events or campaigns or establishing ongoing for-profit or not-for-profit businesses, although preference will be given to ideas that may give rise to self-sustaining business entities.

Individuals and organizations are asked to submit their ideas through July 10, 2012 at Each proposal will be evaluated by a panel of expert judges from a variety of industries, many provided by the initiative’s sponsoring partners. Each proposal will be rated on its feasibility, scalability, sustainability, and impact on health metrics. Up to three winners will be announced the week of July 30, 2012, and will receive:

  • a $50,000 grant toward implementation of the proposed event, campaign, product or program;
  • up to three months of office space, business support, and advisory services at Venturef0rth, a health care-focused incubator in Philadelphia;
  • business mentoring from Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs; and
  • a consulting session with ?What If! Innovation Partners to help build out the idea and maximize its impact.

“Compared to other industries, the health care sector tends to attract fewer entrepreneurs and fewer radical innovations,” stated Raffi Amit, the Robert B. Goergen Professor of Entrepreneurial Management and the Academic Director of Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. “That is why we are delighted to partner with IBX and others on the Game Changers Challenge to help bring forward, support, and sustain new ideas in the health care space.”

The IBX Game Changers Challenge is the latest in a series of ways IBX is transforming health care through innovation. For example:

  • In the Philadelphia region, IBX sponsors the nation’s most extensive network of patient-centered medical home practices, which are dramatically improving primary care.
  • In October 2011, IBX established the $42 million Independence Blue Cross Foundation with a mission of “transforming health care through innovation.”
  • In March, IBX partnered with two other leading Blue insurers, Highmark and Horizon, and health IT provider Lumeris to purchase NaviNet and drive the adoption of new accountable care models throughout the country by providing doctors with the robust tools needed to improve outcomes, enhance patient safety, and increase physician and patient satisfaction, while lowering overall health care costs.
  • IBX is playing a leadership role in driving innovation among the 38 Blue health insurers in the United States by serving as the lead investor in the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association’s Blue Venture Fund that invests in early-stage health IT companies.

About the Wharton School and Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs

Founded in 1881 as the first collegiate business school, the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. With a broad global community and one of the most published business school faculties, Wharton creates ongoing economic and social value around the world. The School has 5,000 undergraduate, MBA, executive MBA, and doctoral students; more than 9,000 annual participants in executive education programs; and a powerful alumni network of 88,000 graduates.

In 1973, The Wharton School became the first school to develop a fully integrated curriculum of entrepreneurial studies. Today Wharton, through Wharton Entrepreneurial Programs, ( supports and seeds innovation and entrepreneurship globally through teaching, research and outreach to a range of organizations through its many programs, initiatives and research centers. At the same time, Wharton students and alumni are helping to build entrepreneurial enterprises around the world and impacting virtually every industry.

About ?What If!

For nearly 20 years, ?What If! has partnered with organizations hungry for growth. ?What If! invents new products, brands, services, and business models, and helps partners build their in-house innovation capabilities with a mission of lasting impact. ?What If! operates from offices in New York, London, Manchester, and Shanghai.

About Venturef0rth

Venturef0rth was founded to promote the growth and success of Philadelphia’s early-stage tech community. The most tangible and immediate need is often physical so Venturef0rth provides members with a month-to-month workspace and a community of peers. Members benefit from economies of scale from finance to human resources to IT operations and marketing so that members can stay lean, efficient and unrelentingly focused on successful execution. The last few years have seen explosive growth in startups spawned organically by residents of the region as well as by students and faculty across an astonishing array of schools and universities.