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Letter from the Chief Innovation Officer: How an Innovation Ramp-Up Is at the Core of Health Reimagined

Together, we are creating the capabilities and experiences that put people at the center of everything we do, the core principle of design thinking

Big ideas are great. However, if we cannot execute them, then they will forever remain ideas that do not benefit our intended customers and users. And we are not about innovation for innovation’s sake at Blue Shield of California – the goals we have set to transform the healthcare system by 2023 are far too ambitious for us to be slow or timid about putting our ideas into action.

semenchuk from entrepreneur
Jeff Semenchuk

When our CEO Paul Markovich and my fellow leaders dreamt of creating a healthcare system that would be worthy of our family and friends and sustainably affordable, he was not looking for us to change how things should be done for just our 4 million members, but the system as a whole. We have been very clear in stating that we are urgently pushing towards creating large, structural change – not just small, incremental adjustments over time.

So, we are working cross-functionally internally and with partners externally to bring about this industry transformation, which we call Health Reimagined. My Innovation team is supporting Peter Long and his Healthcare & Community Health Transformation team and Shayna Schulz and her Enterprise Transformation team as they design and implement much of this work. Together, we are learning how we can bring Health Reimagined to our members, to our providers, and to the communities where we live and work.

Together, we are creating the capabilities and experiences that put people at the center of everything we do, the core principle of design thinking. We created our roadmap for this effort through Future State Journey Maps in collaboration with IDEO, Blue Shield colleagues, and outside subject matter experts. The roadmap is coming to life through Health Reimagined pilot experiences focused on our members, physicians, employers and colleagues.

Pilot programs are expanding across the state

These test programs address each of the three Health Reimagined pillars: Personal Care, Holistic Health, and High Tech-High Touch. We are doing these pilots in a variety of geographic locations: in rural Butte County, urban Los Angeles and Sacramento counties, and suburban Monterey. In each geography, these pilots are addressing different elements of the healthcare system – from billing and payments to personalized care, and transportation to well-being tools. These pilots span the full range of innovation types, from new business and payment models, to new services and technology, to new partnerships and access channels, all with one common thread – transformation through human-centered innovation.

And now, as we are able to look back at what we started, we are able to celebrate our early success. We started seeing payoffs of these programs as we kicked off the New Year. And when March hit, and a State of Emergency was declared in California due to COVID-19, we were able to adjust the programs that were already underway to help aid in the crisis. And we are now accelerating our transformation efforts and preparing to move beyond pilots to launch many of our innovative initiatives more broadly across California. As we move from pilots and into market launches, this is just the beginning of Health Reimagined.