Blues plans invest in IT startups to expand business


Blue Cross Blue Shield plans are investing more in health information technology startups to expand their business and gain an edge in the post Affordable Care Act market.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, along with investment house Sandbox Industries, established BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners, which has become the third most active digital health investor since 2010, Government Health IT reported.

Funding for digital healthcare startups in the U.S. is expected to double to $6.5 billion by the end of 2017, FierceHealthIT previously reported.

BCBSVP started out with $116 million from 11 Blue insurers and now operates a $300 million budget with contributions from 24 Blue Cross companies. It has invested in a wide range of projects, including private exchanges, wellness programs, medical practice scheduling and non-invasive cardiology diagnostics.

One of the first acquisitions that BCBSVP participated in was the joint purchase of private exchange company Bloom Health by Health Care Services Corp, WellPoint and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Michigan. When insurers operate their own private exchanges, they can potentially generate new revenue, recruit new members, boost consumer loyalty and improve member satisfaction.

And this year, BCBSVP joined in six investments totaling at least $90 million, including buyouts of IT companies including Lumiata, which specializes in clinical data analytics; Axial Healthcare, which provides clinical decision support systems; Aspire Health, which offers chronic condition management tools; and MedSave, which makes managed care administrative software, the article noted. 

To learn more:
- read the Government Health IT article

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