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Independence Blue Cross and Thomas Jefferson University Announce Innovation Collaboration

PHILADELPHIA, PA., June 15, 2015 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- To enhance Philadelphia's role as a global leader in health care innovation, Independence Blue Cross (Independence), and Thomas Jefferson University (Jefferson) have announced a new collaboration to begin on July 1 that is designed to boost innovation in health care across the region and help both organizations improve the quality and value of heath care. The Independence Blue Cross – Jefferson Health Innovation Collaboration will be jointly and equally funded up to $2 million by Independence and Jefferson, and the program will be run through the Independence Blue Cross Center for Health Care Innovation and Jefferson's Innovation Pillar.

Established in February 2014, Independence's Center for Health Care Innovation houses a wide range of innovation initiatives and champions health care entrepreneurism in our region. Jefferson's Innovation Pillar is an initiative to elevate and lead innovation as a mission for the university and health system.

Through a variety of programs, the combined teamwork of Jefferson and Independence in this new Health Innovation Collaboration will generate novel ideas and help nurture them to grow. The collaboration will focus on ways to improve patients' health care experience, help people better manage their own health, help physicians and hospitals transform care delivery to improve quality and value, and develop future health care professionals. Strengthening the relationship between Independence and Jefferson, the collaboration will draw on the experience of Jefferson's Innovation Pillar and the Jefferson Accelerator Zone, Jefferson's "command central" for innovation activities, as well as the Independence Blue Cross Center for Health Care Innovation, which among its many activities, invests in DreamIt Health start-up companies and other promising health-related businesses.

The initiatives the collaboration will pursue include an Entrepreneur-in-Residence program for clinicians and researchers who have promising discoveries that will need more dedicated time and proof-of-concept support, including prototyping. The Entrepreneurs-in Residence will also participate in education curriculum in entrepreneurship and an innovation engagement speaker series. Other examples of initiatives the collaboration will pursue include health hackathons, events at which people interested in problem solving work intensely to "hack" into usable solutions to important health care issues, including reducing hospital readmissions, designing wearable devices that improve health care delivery, and other cutting edge technology applications.
"We are very excited to work collaboratively with the new Jefferson in this important leap forward, innovating into a dynamic future to create a vibrant environment in which we jointly reimagine health care," said Independence President and CEO Daniel J. Hilferty. "Our efforts will help unlock the potential of Philadelphia to become a global magnet for health care innovation, bringing together the best minds and brightest ideas."

"Independence Blue Cross is a national leader in rethinking how to move the needle on quality. Jefferson is well positioned to partner with Independence in realizing these goals in concrete ways," said Stephen K. Klasko, M.D., M.B.A, President and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health. "We anticipate that the Entrepreneur-in-Residence program will be a pivot point for moving new ideas forward and changing what we do and how we do it, in multiple aspects of health care."

About Independence Blue Cross



Independence Blue Cross is the leading health insurance organization in southeastern Pennsylvania. With our affiliates, we serve 9.6 million people in 24 states and the District of Columbia, including 2.5 million in the region. For nearly 80 years, we have been enhancing the health and wellness of the people and communities we serve by delivering innovative and competitively priced health care products and services; pioneering new ways to reward doctors, hospitals, and other health care professionals for coordinated, quality care; and supporting programs and events that promote wellness. To learn more visit www.ibx.com. Connect with us on Facebook at ibx.com/facebook and on Twitter at @ibx. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

About Jefferson — Health is all we do.

Our newly formed organization, Jefferson, encompasses Jefferson Health and Thomas Jefferson University, representing our clinical and academic entities. Together, the people of Jefferson, 19,000 strong, provide the highest-quality, compassionate clinical care for patients, educate the health professionals of tomorrow, and discover new treatments and therapies that will define the future of health care.

Jefferson Health comprises five hospitals, 13 outpatient and urgent care centers, as well as physician practices and everywhere we deliver care throughout the city and suburbs across Philadelphia, Montgomery and Bucks Counties in Pa., and Camden County in New Jersey. Together, these facilities serve more than 78,000 inpatients, 238,000 emergency patients and 1.7 million outpatient visits annually. Thomas Jefferson University Hospital is the largest freestanding academic medical center in Philadelphia. Abington Hospital is the largest community teaching hospital in Montgomery or Bucks counties. Other hospitals include Jefferson Hospital for Neuroscience in Center City Philadelphia; Methodist Hospital in South Philadelphia; and Abington-Lansdale Hospital in Hatfield Township.

Thomas Jefferson University enrolls more than 3,900 future physicians, scientists, nurses and healthcare professionals in the Sidney Kimmel Medical College (SKMC); Jefferson Schools of Health Professions, Nursing, Pharmacy, Population Health; and the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and is home of the National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center

For more information and a complete listing of Jefferson services and locations, visit www.jefferson.edu.

CONTACT: Ruth Stoolman Independence Blue Cross 215-241-4807 (office) 215-667-9537 (cell) Ruth.stoolman@ibx.com Jackie Kozloski Thomas Jefferson University and Hospitals 215-955-5296 (office) Jackie.Kozloski@Jefferson.edu 267-760-7943 (cell)

Source:Independence Blue Cross