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Independence Blue Cross partners with Philadelphia University on innovation certificate program

Philadelphia, PA – When it launched its Center for Health Care Innovation in February, Independence Blue Cross (Independence) said the Center would serve as a place where the company’s associates and external partners could innovate, collaborate, learn, and implement path-finding new concepts in health care. As part of that broad initiative, Independence has now partnered with Philadelphia University on a pilot program called “A Primer on Innovation,” a four-week customized leadership program designed to introduce Independence leaders to the principles and practices of innovation using Philadelphia University’s signature methods of active, collaborative, and real world learning. Upon finishing the program, Independence associates will receive a certificate in innovation.

“Our region has all the components — world class universities and teaching hospitals and a strong health and life sciences economy— to significantly transform health care in our region,” said Independence President and CEO Daniel J. Hilferty. “But we need more. We need new ideas and new ways to use technology to improve care and lower costs. At Independence, we are excited about our commitment to building a vibrant entrepreneurial community where smart and resourceful people are encouraged to think creatively about how to solve pressing health care problems.”

“Being an innovation leader isn’t just about supporting and championing new ideas that come from outside our own four walls. It’s equally about inspiring our own people to take managed risks, training them to ask ‘what if?’, and encouraging them to try new things,” said Terry Booker, vice president business development and innovation at Independence. “Even small changes in how we think and act and collaborate can lead to very big and productive ideas.”

The coursework that’s part of “A Primer on Innovation” can also be applied toward other design programs at Philadelphia University, including the Strategic Design MBA program, a unique program that integrates the strategic analysis of business school with the creative process from design school.

In addition to the new certificate program, Independence regularly offers its associates training sessions and “Innovation Challenges” conducted by Independence innovation specialists. In these classes, teams of associates meet at the Center to solve a particular problem using techniques, tools, and new ways of thinking that are often foreign to their day-to-day office routines. For example, associates learn how to think expansively, use tools to bring in stimulus from other industries and experiences, and build on one another’s ideas to take collaboration to a new level. Groups of all sizes meet for one day at the Center to solve complex, cross-functional business opportunities, and they walk out with rich, new solutions in hand. To date, more than 1,000 Independence associates have participated in at least one innovation session.

In fact, one of the ideas that came from an innovation session was the Independence IQ, a health care education game show designed to test consumers’ knowledge about the Affordable Care Act and provide important information about the law. From August 2013 through March 2014, Independence used the Independence IQ as it interacted with more than 65,000 people at hundreds of community events at health clinics, festivals, professional sports games, bus and rail stations, the zoo, YMCAs, and more. The game show provided a unique and fun learning opportunity unlike anything consumers had seen before.

About Independence Blue Cross
Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurer in southeastern Pennsylvania. With our affiliates, we serve nearly 8.8 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.

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Ruth Stoolman
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