Six years ago, Comcast Cable EVP of Human Resources, Bill Strahan, introduced a tiny start-up in the Philly suburbs named Accolade to Comcast Ventures. At that time, the Comcast Benefits team was just starting to pilot a new "health assistant" service to employees and their dependents in Comcast Cable’s Northeast division. We were so impressed with the Accolade vision, its potential to help our families navigate the complex healthcare system and the early proofpoints it had garnered that we invested soon thereafter. Since then, Accolade has grown to service the broader Comcast population and numerous other Fortune 500 corporations.
In addition to self-insured employers, health systems and health plans are now customers and partners for Accolade. Local healthcare titans like Independence Blue Cross (IBC) and Temple University Health System (TUHS) have started to capitalize on the consumer health engagement platform that Accolade delivers. To that end, last week, Accolade announced a strategic round of financingled by long time Comcast partner, IBC. With that funding, Independence President and CEO, Daniel Hilferty, will assist Accolade’s board, providing his astute perspectives and counsel to Accolade CEO, Tom Spann, E&Y’s 2015 Philadelphia Entrepreneur of the Year.
Two years ago, I posted about Comcast Ventures’ interest in digital healthcare – that interest continues. It will take bold leadership and innovations in technology and business models to reimagine healthcare in America. Today, Shawn Leavitt, Comcast’s SVP of Benefits is the steward of this disruption within Comcast’s employee base, and Accolade is the general contractor to introduce and support these emerging programs. Whether its price transparency of medical services, expert second opinions on complex cases, or mobile video consults with a medical professional, Accolade will be there connecting our employees and families to these new capabilities.
With additional funding from IBC and McKesson Ventures, an accomplished corporate VC in the health sector, Accolade is poised to work with Comcast on the next chapter of employer health services innovation.