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Case Study - Cognea and Regence BlueCross BlueShield

Learn how Regence and Cognea discovered how to increase pre-diabetec helpline engagement by 10x

The bottom line

In just 14 weeks Regence had an artificial intelligence startup tailored to increase their pre-diabetes education engagement by 10x - for less than the cost of one full time employee.


A tailored workshop rapidly produced 43 challenge areas and stakeholder alignment

On May 14th, 2013, Prebacked visited the offices of Regence BlueCross, BlueShield in Portland for a workshop to determine focus ares that we should pitch to startups. Over 4 hours, 15 executives from Regence, Cambia, and even a special guest from Wellmark BCBS worked together to determine 10 focus areas and brainstorm 4-5 needs for each, totaling 43 challenges. Upon leaving the workshop, Lisa Brubaker and her team were convinced, they needed a pipeline of innovators aligned to her needs, and they needed it now.

In 18 days Prebacked sourced 56 startups, certified 9, and Regence selected Cognea

Following Regence’s innovation workshop and subsequent decision on focus areas to present, we began sourcing teams that might be able to help Regence with their needs. In two weeks we sourced over 60 teams, one of which was an AI startup that had previously been utilized for customer service in the banking industry. After the Selection Gala, Missy Krasner exclaimed “Box needs to do this!”, Lisa Brubaker exclaimed “This was absolutely thrilling!” and several VCs tried to fund teams on the spot - even though they were not allowed.

Cognea, the AI startup, was one of the startups chosen.

Cognea uncovered costly pain points through Prebacked, Regence co-mentorship

After selection into the Prebacked Program with Regence, Cognea spent the next 4 weeks discovering specific pain points, acquiring a thorough understanding of the people, processes, and technology they could optimize. This helped Lisel, the CEO of Cognea, discover that her product could increase utilization of Regence's pre-diabetic education hotline by 8-12x with some specific tailoring.

She and her team then worked with Mark Wyman, Cambia's VP of technology, who mentored the team for a painless IT integration as well as Marja Wilson, VP Gov’t Programs, and Rex Wallace, VP STAR ratings to discover their greatest potential ROI.

By the end of 12 weeks, Lisel had discovered high-ROI pain points, built a comprehensive pilot deployment plan, and built a prototype to showcase to Regence executives.

Improved STAR ratings, potential $160MM savings made a vendor agreement a "no-brainer"

Now was the final test, 12 Regence executives filled a room, 10 more were on the phone, would Cognea's proposed pilot program convince everyone that it would work? As it happened, following a 45 minute pitch from Cognea, and only 20 minutes of deliberation, Marja Wilson exclaimed: "I'm ready to pull out my checkbook right now!"

So what was the final ask? To deploy to 2000 members at a potential $80,000 savings per member, the team needed just $125,000.

As an added bonus to everyone, two other executives attending had ideas for utilizations of Cognea's software within their own organizations.