Monday, March 16, 2009

WellPoint Innovation Team to lead Health X PRIZE Collaboration

Chad Pomeroy and Pam Rogers to keep Wellpoint at the edge of innovation and health care reform through investment in X PRIZE process

Wellpoint has made a concerted effort over the last several years to stay at the edge of health care innovation. Beginning with their acquisition of Lumenos in 2005, Wellpoint has made a series of investment in health care consumerism. In addition to these acquisitions, Wellpoint has also conducted a series of Innovation Conferences wherein they recruit the best and brightest health care startups to showcase their solutions with the winner getting an opportunity to implement within Wellpoint's network. These efforts are part of an overall innovation strategy by Wellpoint that included the creation of a distinct Innovation business unit.

Heading up that unit is Chad Pomeroy, who came to Wellpoint as part of the Lumenos transaction. Chad has been a long time leader in health care consumerism and empowering patients with information, tools, and technology that allows them to more fully engage in their health. In fact, Chad is an industry recognized leader in consumer driven health plan design and developed a unique claims payment system designed specifically for HRA/HSA's. At Wellpoint, he has led the innovation efforts and his team has demonstrated a capacity to create, test and bring new ideas to market quickly. This has helped WellPoint maintain a leadership position within the rapidly evolving health plan industry. Chad was the primary driver of engaging with the X PRIZE to push this unique innovation model forward.

Chad is assisted in the Health X PRIZE development effort by Pam Rogers, who is the Executive Direct of Consumer Innovation for Wellpoint. Pam has been with Wellpoint (originally Anthem BCBS) since 1993 and served in a variety of leadership roles in product development and client implementation. During her tenure she has led cross-cutting projects in many disciplines, including business development, operational performance improvement, quality assurance and data warehouse management. She has a personal interest and professional focus on health care finances and was responsible for implementing Wellpoint's HRA / HSA products across the enterprise. She has a passion for leading edge innovation and is a great operational complement to Chad's leadership.

Beside the obvious $10M PRIZE purse that has already been donated, Wellpoint has organizationally committed to funding the PRIZE process, development, interim awards, and contest management. This commitment includes wide ranging access to Wellpoint internal resources including other members of the innovation team, product development, analytics and measurement, actuarial staff, and marketing and public relations. Perhaps most valuable, Wellpoint has committed to providing its membership base as potential pilots for the top five solutions to emerge from the contest for actual implementation. This will dramatically impact the speed of adoption of a potentially breakthrough solution.

Its been impressive to see the largest health benefits company step forward and commit to the X PRIZE framework as a new model of innovation worthy of this level of commitment. I believe they see, or perhaps more appropriately believe at this stage, that revolutionary breakthroughs are possible through well designed competitions that can inspire, can give hope, and deliver results. Looking forward to this effort making a dramatic impact on our health system.
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