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Letter From the Chief Innovation Officer: Our Commitment to Reimagining Health Through a Personalized Care Approach

In collaboration with Cricket Health, we’re redefining what it means to live with kidney disease today

In June, we unveiled Health Reimagined - Blue Shield of California’s innovative plan to transform the healthcare system. Under this charter, we announced a number of pilot programs across the state spanning new business and payment models, new services, technology, and partnerships, all with one common thread – transformation through human-centered innovation.

semenchuk from entrepreneur
Jeff Semenchuk

Putting people at the center of all we do – the core tenet of design thinking – remains our north star and guiding principle. I’m excited to share today a new initiative and collaboration for an important segment of our member base. In collaboration with Cricket Health, we are delivering a transformed healthcare experience for members suffering from chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease by providing these patients with access to the right care at the right time and in the right setting. Today, that setting is at home. With COVID-19 cases continuing to increase across the state, we’re now offering remote services to slow the virus’ spread and protect our most at-risk members – including those with chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease.                                                                                                                    

The Cricket Health program includes a mix of virtual and phone-based support services that enable patients unprecedented flexibility as they aren’t tethered to in-hospital treatments, while at the same time sheltering them from the possible danger of COVID-19 infection. Grounded in personalized, evidence-based support, the program includes supplemental medical support, management tools and connection to an online community of peer groups and trained mentors all designed to help slow the progression of kidney disease and help patients better understand and manage their kidney care.

For patients, whose kidney disease progresses, Cricket Health provides education for treatment options, such as pre-emptive transplants, conservative care (care without dialysis or a kidney transplant), and in-center dialysis. This helps patients select the best treatment option for themselves and their families.

“It is refreshing to see Blue Shield of California take such an innovative approach to solve this thorny health care problem,” said Nancy Brown, general partner of the Oak HC/FT venture capital firm that has Cricket in its portfolio of tech-enabled companies. “This collaboration is important in making our healthcare system one that puts the people at the center, and I am glad to see that those with chronic kidney disease are receiving the support they need.”

This marks an important step in delivering on our promise of reimagining health care, and I’m proud that we are working with Cricket Health, who is deeply knowledgeable and invested in supporting patients through every stage of this disease. With more than 37 million people in the U.S. diagnosed with kidney disease, we know that a diagnosis doesn’t mean an end to life as you know it. The new Cricket Health program empowers patients to manage their disease while living their best quality of life possible.