Skip to main content

Healthy Innovation for All

Innovation seeks great solutions.

Great solutions don't have winners and losers. At Highmark Health, we make sure everyone wins. No one's left out — especially when it comes to health care. We innovate in ways that bring positive change and disruption for the better, so we can revolutionize health care. We call this healthy innovation.

We improve the health of every community we serve by balancing human needs with business objectives as we creatively solve problems we face as an organization, an industry and a society.

We achieve a healthy balance by blending multiple approaches to problem solving:

  • For clearly defined problems, we put the experts to work in using the best analytical, evidence-based methods to identify and implement solutions to improve health care for all.
  • For problems not so clearly defined, we work side by side with the patients, customers, practitioners and professionals directly involved and affected by the problem to create new alternative solutions that deliver quality care at an affordable cost.

What We Do

The Innovation Foundry at Highmark Health can:

  • Blend quantitative and qualitative research methods to ensure we ask the right questions at the beginning of the problem-solving process — because if we're not asking the right questions, we're settling for less, and that's not innovation.
  • Generate strategies to guide the development of solutions that transform health care from every aspect — the individual human beings receiving or providing care, as well as the market and industry that provide the framework for delivering and financing that care.
  • Test FDA-approved medical treatments and devices in a methodical, measurable and repeatable way to advance treatments from experimental status to reimbursable in everyday health care, including through our VITAL program.
  • Apply descriptive and predictive analytics to data to guide decision-making about how much and how many of something we need to deliver on our promise to the human beings we serve.
  • Use design research methods to turn constraints into opportunities for new products and services that address persistent problems affecting the health of human beings and the health care industry as a whole.
  • Guide and train others in using 21st-century methods and tools to solve 21st-century problems.
  • Inspire our peers and stakeholders to make positive change in their organizations and community.
  • Foster the open exchange of ideas and solutions so we might all make positive change in our organizations, industries and communities.

Value Through Strategic Collaboration

Highmark Health understands that no one can transform health care alone. We are strongly committed to driving innovation through strategic collaborations that leverage best-in-class research and techniques. Through these collaborations, we are creating a more caring, more positive, more personal and more effective health care experience.

In 2017, Penn State Health and Highmark Health announced plans for an innovative strategic partnership that will collectively invest more than $1 billion to develop a high-value, community-based health care network. The network will be anchored by the advanced care provided by the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, the region's only university teaching and research hospital.

The new Penn State Health and Highmark Health strategic partnership is focused on improving access, quality and affordability of health care close to home for people across south central Pennsylvania, while creating new opportunities for medical education and research. Core to that vision is the creation of a community network to support the population health and local needs of patients and members. This value-based approach will reimburse health care providers for the quality of care they provide rather than for the volume of services.

Carnegie Mellon's commitment to research and technology development creates affordable, accessible and effective healthcare solutions and was the force behind the creation of the Disruptive Health Technology Institute (DHTI) in 2013. Research led by Carnegie Mellon University is supported by generous funding from Highmark Health. Both organizations are dedicated to working collaboratively to create solutions that will impact large populations, have the ability to provide substantial health care savings and lead to improvements in patient safety and quality of life. Since 2013, DHTI has funded 38 projects, representing an investment in both our nation's future wellness, and in a new philosophy for toppling barriers to innovative thinking in health care technology. Visit the Disruptive Health Technology Institute website for more information.


Innovations driving value for our customers


Our VITAL Innovation Program is now evaluating the WellDoc® digital app to improve outcomes for people with type 2 diabetes


Learn more about how VITAL operates and what makes it a unique approach to health care innovation.

David Holmberg

Highmark Health CEO David Holmberg writes about the power of a collaborative approach to health care innovation on the Oliver Wyman blog.

Highmark Health has invested heavily in a collaborative fight against cancer.

Highmark Health has invested heavily in a collaborative fight against cancer.


One of VITAL's success stories is Freespira, a non-drug approach to helping those with anxiety.