By John Uribe - Vice President of Corporate Development

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Three disruptors to watch in 2017

January 18, 2017

It’s an exciting time for innovators. The rapidly evolving health care landscape is rich with opportunity to better connect with, and ultimately help, consumers. Take the evolution of telemedicine, for example. Instead of having to miss work for a doctor’s appointment due to a sinus infection, we can now connect with a doctor via our smart phones and save our time off for a cabin trip.

As someone who works in corporate development, I am often asked how we define innovation at Blue Cross.

To me, the definition is simple: innovation at Blue Cross means finding new ways to help consumers with their health, regardless of their current health status.

This means:

  • If you are healthy, how do we better help you maintain your good health?
  • If you are dealing with a current or ongoing health issue, how do we help you improve your care?
  • And do we help everyone navigate the health care system in a transparent, consumer-friendly way?

One way we drive innovation at Blue Cross is through investments in innovative startup companies approaching health care in an entirely new way for consumers.

Innovation at Blue Cross means finding new ways to help consumers with their health, regardless of their current health status.

Here are three key “disruptors” Blue Cross is investing in, and the companies behind them:

Online therapy for mental health – There is no shortage of consumer data that shows how stressed we are as a nation. Longer hours and more responsibilities can take a toll on our mental health over the long-term, but organizations that can provide convenient, online support are beginning to emerge.

One such startup– fueled by an investment from Blue Cross– is Learn To Live The organization provides online Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), which is a proven method for treating depression and anxiety, just to name a few mental health issues.

The innovative part? Wherever you can access the internet, you can access CBT. Plus, research shows online CBT programs are just as effective as face-to-face therapy for most issues.

Appropriate use of the Emergency Room – Unnecessary visits to the emergency room are a major force in driving up costs for health insurers and consumers. Eliminating some of these unnecessary visits while providing easy access to health care is what drove the formation of Livio Health Group.

The company uses a mobile service to provide urgent and primary care, as well as chronic care management, to consumers’ homes and non-traditional facilities. The model doesn’t just prevent unnecessary ER visits, it reduces the stress and challenges for caregivers as they arrange transportation for their loved ones.

Primary care comes to you – Remember when doctors made house calls? That’s the focus with local startup, Retrace Health.  The company brings a primary-care visit to your house for a flat fee. Video check-ins are also available.

The business model focuses on helping people with low acute needs minimize the time required to visit a provider. Need lab work? That’s not a problem, as nurses also make house calls for testing.

These are just a handful of companies making bold moves in health care. The opportunities to innovate are endless, and we’ve only scratched the surface.

About John Uribe

As vice president of corporate development at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, John Uribe is responsible for leading new business opportunities that align with Blue Cross’ strategic plan in order to drive the organization’s future growth objectives. Prior to Blue Cross, Uribe held leadership roles at Schwan’s, General Mills and General Electric. He holds a CPA and earned both a bachelor’s degree and MBA from Indiana University. Uribe currently serves as a board member of The Bakken Museum, Livio Health Group and Learn to Live.

3 thoughts on “Three disruptors to watch in 2017”

  1. Mike says:

    My wife and I have taken on the role of a caregiver recently for a relative with a chronic condition. Her condition requires visits to hospitals and physician offices for testing and adjustments to medication. Moving her down a long flight of steps, wheelchair bound causes a lot of anxiety and stress, in addition to the stress of dressing for the visit. It’s great to see that the future is finally catching up with the past in the return of home care mobile services. For the caregiver, it also eases the engagement process more effectively.

  2. Kathleen Miller says:

    I personally think that this is one of the BEST IDEAS in a Very long time. I’m speaking from a care giver point of view. I took care of my husband who died from colorectal cancer. Then 10 years later I was the primary caregiver for my Dad. He had Alzheimer’s, heart disease, arthritis & gout plus hypertension. None of it was easy, but we do what we have to do for as long as it takes. Having ANY DR.come to the house would’ve been a major blessing. Because by the time my Dad was bed ridden, I’d already been physically hurt from him loosing his balance & I had a hold of him but when he started going down, I ends up on the bottom when we hit the floor. But by then I’d been hurt several times. Now I need to let you in on the fact that I’d broken my back 10 yes earlier from falling down steps the day After I buried my husband. I too have rheumatoid arthritis & a very damaged back from other injuries when I was younger. My Daddy passed away 10 yes exactly on the same day my husband died. September 21. There is really so much more to this story & I doubt there’s enough room & I’m just too tired. But I hope I made a point anyway. Having house calls would be a major step forward for anyone in need. It would save the patient & doctor some valued time, make it easier on a patient. Blood draws @ home also saves time, stress & energy too. This idea has boundless benefits.

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