Motivation and initiatives for healthcare R&D

Interview: IBC's Terry Booker on creating Silicon Valley of healthcare (Page 2)

By Alicia Caramenico

FierceHealthPayer: What led Independence Blue Cross to want to create its own innovation center?

Terry Booker: We had a particularly strong vantage point, in terms of an intersection of Independence Blue Cross as a large payer and the providers and customers in the region. Having had that vantage point, we can focus on research and development, which really hasn't been a focus for anybody in this industry. We'll do that research and development in the form of partnerships and pilots as well as a strategic innovation portfolio that will invest for R&D purposes in companies all over the country that are strategically important not only to IBC specifically, but also to healthcare in general.

By doing that, we get to see the technology and figure out what's going to work or what might not work, because it's equally important to discover which roads not to go down as we make sure to adhere to all of the requirements and the market challenges put in place under the Affordable Care Act.

FHP: What R&D initiatives does IBC have in the works?

Booker: We're working on several pilots. In DreamIt, we have 10 companies we make an investment in--often, as those companies grow and become stronger and larger, we have opportunities to participate in additional rounds of funding. All of those things are intellectual experiences that we get to participate in.

Because those companies are part of the healthcare startup accelerator, they have interchange and meaningful exchanges with folks from IBC and get some real-life experience in the development of their tool or service. Those are things that will smooth out the healthcare continuum, make it more efficient and ultimately translate into better care at a lower cost for customers.