Thursday, June 25, 2009

Demonstration Division: True Communities versus Geographically Concentrated Employers

An attempt to answer a frequently asked question regarding the "community" question

Question: Your philosophy states that "The likely location of the test communities will be from the states where WellPoint has markets". We are a community of about 10,000 that has an interest, but as I understand it, Wellpoint does not have a market here. Should we consider our community to be excluded from consideration for this effort?

Quite the contrary, we are hopeful to inspire an entire network of communities just like yours to actively participate in the Healthcare X PRIZE. While the actual Prize competition has some operational limitations, including constraining the competing population to WellPoint employer "communities", we are contemplating designing a demonstration division wherein real, physical communities such as yours can compete within the X PRIZE framework. This may require some additional sponsorship money and heavy lifting in terms of community data sharing, but we believe this could be lead to some great breakthroughs for communities who would most benefit from this type of innovation.

A question I would have you consider, just as I asked Oroville, Ohio to do, is how would you organize your community to be able to share claims information, health data from individuals, and the general data management that we would need in order to operate the prize. Would a new entity need to be created? Who would head this entity? How would the entity be funded? These questions begin to give a flavor of the very real, but not insurmountable challenges, and the requirements for widespread community support from multiple stakeholders to pull it off. However, maybe this is absolutely what is required and necessarily to lead to the break through health innovations we are seeking.

For this reason, we are seriously contemplating a "demonstration division", where in true communities can compete along side of the employer based groups. They would have the same rules, the same measurement set, and the same reporting requirements available. We could potentially obtain additional sponsorship money to fund a purse for this and hope to incent alot of community based innovation in the process. This feels like it has a life of its own . . . we will keep exploring this.

Your comments and criticisms of a "demonstration division"?
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