A two-way conduit for innovation: Meet MATTER’s 2018 innovation fellows

Earlier this year, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBS) employee Brian Lombardo spent three months embedded at MATTER as BCBS’s first innovation fellow. This fellowship creates a two-way conduit for insight and innovation between MATTER and BCBS.

Below are Brian’s takeaways from his experience.

Partnering with Payers Means Focusing on Customers and Collaboration

Earlier this year, I had the privilege of working with and getting to know more than 200+ healthcare startups as BCBS’s first MATTER fellow. As companies launched or expanded their efforts to improve the healthcare system and promote collaboration, I served as an on-site resource and a window into the payer perspective.

While at MATTER, the most frequent inquiry was “How can we partner or work with BCBS?” The short answer: There’s no one-size-fits-all, or even one-size-fits-most path forward for entrepreneurs. Instead, there are many roads in. Networking with employees in various departments and attending events at a community nexus, like MATTER, provide the best paths to partner with payers. While few conversations will result directly in a partnership, all will result in feedback on the solution and potential applications.

Before reaching out, do your homework: Identify how your solution benefits the payer and the total healthcare ecosystem — most importantly, our customers and members — what is happening in the marketplace, and where you are different than competitors.

At the end of the day, the future of the healthcare ecosystem is dependent upon breaking down silos and collaborating across paradigms. Thanks to technology like LinkedIn, and organizations like MATTER, it’s never been easier to find and connect with individuals. Together, we are stronger.

Video: Building a Pipeline for Innovation

In July, MATTER welcomed BCBS’s second innovation fellow, Angel Fisher. Angel is a senior project manager and brings a wealth of expertise in network solutions, program management, operational efficiencies, and education and training. She will spend three months at MATTER interfacing and collaborating with the community in an effort to continue fostering a two-way learning experience between MATTER and BCBS.

Angel will also spearhead an innovation challenge to deliver a solution that advances health equity for the communities BCBS serves. The winner will have the opportunity to pilot with BCBS and a provider partner.

Follow Angel on LinkedIn for updates.