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Blue Shield of California Is Embracing Human-Centered Design to Transform Health Care in California

Blue Shield is designing how care is delivered to its over 4-million plan members while lowering costs, improving access, enhancing quality and overall making the health-care experience more enjoyable for both physicians and their patients.

Jeff Semenchuk at an IDEO workshop

The move is part of a broad effort spearheaded by Jeff Semenchuk, the company’s first-ever chief innovation officer, to bring new thinking and transformation to the 80-year-old health-insurer and to create a health-care model for the future. He is bringing together cross-functional teams to encourage collaboration and diverse perspectives to shape future healthcare experiences that are personalized and available at affordable costs. Jeff, who joined Blue Shield just last year, is scheduled to hold a fireside chat with California’s new Surgeon General Nadine Burke Harris next week (June 4) at the Social Innovation Summit at the Intercontinental Hotel in Downtown Los Angeles.

“We’re defining what a member’s experience will be in the future,” explains Jeff, “and doing the same for providers, employers and our own colleagues. This will then help us design our company’s new operating model to provide these experiences.”

Blue Shield of California is partnering with global design firm IDEO to bring this transformation initiative to life. A pioneer of human-centered design and innovation, IDEO traces its roots back to 1978 in Palo Alto. The firm’s earliest innovations include the original Apple computer mouse and the first notebook computer. Today, IDEO applies its design methodologies to complex systemic challenges, from healthcare to government to education and more. It has more than 700 employees in nine cities around the world.

“Jeff’s focus on Blue Shield of California’s member, provider, employer and colleague experience is redefining the opportunities for all stakeholders within health care,” says IDEO partner Bruce MacGregor. “Through a highly collaborative partnership between IDEO and Blue Shield leaders, we are designing ways to equip Californians to live healthier and happier lives and making healthcare affordable for everyone.” 

Earlier this year, Semenchuk spoke about disrupting the broken healthcare system in this video from Blue Shield of California’s Sidewalk Talk series: