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Dallas Innovates 2020 Thought Leaders: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, C1 Innovation Lab

Q+A | Musings on innovation from the region's paradigm-shifting companies and organizations.

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How has your industry changed in the past five years?

The healthcare industry has drastically changed for the better in the past five years. I’ve experienced many of these changes as a pediatrician and health insurance professional. As a former pediatric emergency and urgent care provider, I saw how technology improved the patient experience through advances such as telemedicine and remote monitoring. Now, as the Executive Director at the C1 Innovation Lab, I’m proud to support a team of individuals who work daily to strategically and creatively problem solve in support of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas (BCBSTX) customers and members.

What do you predict will happen in the next five to 10 years?

I’d encourage more partnerships and collaborations between large healthcare companies, health startups and entrepreneurs to see real change in the industry. As a company, we recognize we don’t have all the answers to solve for our members’ largest challenges. Through our partners, we have the ability to not only provide health insurance to our members, but also health assurance in real time.

What is the biggest challenge in your industry at the moment?

We serve millions of Texans daily with their healthcare challenges. Factors surrounding a person’s social determinants of health—such as access to healthcare services, transportation, safe housing and economic opportunities, among others—can negatively impact their health status. While this serves as a major challenge in healthcare, we awarded more than $1.6 million in grants statewide to support 17 community-based organizations addressing social factors that impact health. Our staff continuously evaluates our programs and services to meet our members’ needs as well as work diligently to support them through the various stages of their health journey.

What are the most critical changes that your industry must make to face the future effectively?

Payers and providers should collaborate to reimagine a healthcare delivery system that utilizes empathy to create healthcare experiences that effectively engage patients and their families. Partnering with industry thought leaders will help to drive efficiency in the near term while significant transformation through innovation in the long term will construct a future of healthcare that has a foundation of equity, quality, positive outcomes and affordability.

What has helped you get to where you are and what advice would you have for others who want to set off in a similar direction?

I’m exhaustingly persistent. I’m never afraid to ask “why?” At the C1 Lab, we use design thinking to discover ideas and solutions for the challenges gleaned from working with members. I use this practice in my professional and personal life. When you start with empathy, you gain a different perspective. Understanding an individual’s journey through their lens has helped me in this industry and will also benefit those who are seeking to follow a similar career path.

A version of this Thought Leaders article was first published in Dallas Innovates 2020: The Magazine.

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It’s a moment for innovation in Dallas-Fort Worth, one that we’ve been working toward for a long time. In Dallas Innovates 2020: The Magazine, we explore the people and companies you need to know in Dallas-Fort Worth. From first-time startups to innovation icons, these are the people and companies driving the future forward.

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