Independence Blue Cross (IBC) recently teamed up with Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business to develop a Business Analytics Certificate program as a new way to further develop its informatics staff and prepare them for the many opportunities to improve health care coming with health care reform. The first class of IBC associates completed the program in May and a new class of students will begin this fall.
“Drexel’s custom-designed program gives our workforce a deeper understanding of how data-based decisions can improve health care quality and lower costs,” said Somesh Nigam, Ph.D., senior vice president and IBC’s chief informatics officer. “Data and analytics are key enablers for optimizing the delivery of health care and our leadership in this area will be critical to our future success and to helping us better serve our members.”
The Business Analytics Certificate program includes coursework in statistical analysis and participants create detailed case studies based on relevant business issues, such as predicting the likelihood of ER visits and hospitalizations, finding ways to reduce readmissions, and evaluating the effectiveness of wellness programs. Courses are taught primarily at IBC headquarters by LeBow professors. The 15-month program includes five credit and three non-credit courses. IBC employees can continue toward an MBA or an M.S. in Business Analytics by applying the credits toward another degree.
“Our corporate culture is evolving to better foster innovation within our own walls, the community and the industry, and education plays a key role,” added Nigam. “Technology and specifically the use of big data in our business will be increasingly important to help us foster collaboration among different stakeholders to offer higher quality, more patient-centered care.”
“We are very pleased to partner with IBC on this unique program, which has already received rave reviews from the inaugural class,” said Kris Risi, Ph.D., executive director of Corporate and Executive Education at LeBow College. “We’re very impressed with the quality of the IBC students, their energy and their dedication to the program. The program was designed with an applied focus to address real-life business problems. Offering experiential education that immediately benefits both the employee and employer is the hallmark of Drexel LeBow.”