Bruce Broussard

Bruce BroussardIn a series of LinkedIn Influencer blog posts, Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard shares insights and ideas about the future of health care and discusses the importance of working together to improve the health-care system as well as our own health and well-being. His latest — Success depends on more than time and money — is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

Time and money. The drive to lower costs and outpace the competition is bigger than ever. No matter what industry you’re in, you feel it. Amazon is doing to retail what Henry Ford did to the buggy industry 120 years ago.

As business leaders, we’ve always prioritized time, financial performance, and quality, which many view as the three primary dimensions of business success. From time-to-market for new products to growth in revenues, businesses are measured by these fundamental results.

Time and money make you sharper; and they challenge us as leaders. Mastering them can make you stand out from the competition. As a leader, you’re out to grow your business and maximize the time spent doing so.

But those two dimensions can only do so much. What happens when prioritizing time and money comes at the expense of quality?

When quality loses

One tragic answer to this question was the 1986 Challenger space shuttle crash. After a thorough inquiry, investigators blamed the disaster on the failure of an O-ring designed to prevent hot gas from leaking through a joint in the solid rocket booster.

Some of the people who worked on the project said they knew in advance about the O-ring quality issue. But there was pressure to meet the launch date and stay within budget, and critics have argued that NASA lacked a culture that would have encouraged engineers to stop the production process and fix the O-ring problem.

The NASA example shows that a culture of hierarchy can make people feel uncomfortable raising concerns. But if there is a problem, shouldn’t the culture foster an environment to solve it?

People must feel like they have institutional support when they speak up about something wrong. In business, it’s imperative that companies develop and nurture a culture that encourages everyone to point out quality deficiencies.

The O-ring example shows that when you don’t have an environment that encourages personal accountability, you won’t promote enterprise-wide thinking. And the enterprise will suffer for it.

Be accountable

Too often, employees don’t speak up when they should or when they don’t feel there is a welcome environment for new ideas. There may be cultural or financial pressures. They may not want to jeopardize the results they’re being measured by, or they don’t want to slow down the team.

If you want to solve problems and achieve quality in your organization without sacrificing your financial responsibilities and your timelines, you need a culture where people feel empowered to speak up. Like the manufacturing industry of the twentieth century, where often a single factory worker could stop the assembly line, a culture must empower its employees to speak up and make sure a job is done right.

Going beyond your role

I recently sat down with my Chief Information Officer (CIO) to pose the question: what really determines quality?

His response was enlightening. He used the example of a software engineer who develops an app, makes sure it meets the specs, and delivers it to the team. But he noted that while the process delivered the app, the engineer has a responsibility to stay involved. What if the app doesn’t generate any momentum? What if hardly anyone uses it? The engineer must embrace personal accountability, which is getting people to use it. It’s not just about whether the engineer delivered the app to specs, but whether people used it and it was successful.

That’s not only personal accountability; it’s also creating an optimistic environment where employees are challenged to go beyond the status quo and drive quality into the organization.

The real world

My industry, health care, is under intense pressure to reduce costs and deliver even faster access to physicians and other care providers. Making the most of time and money are important, but in health care, success will be determined by the health of our nation, not just our individual enterprises.

Quality in health care means better clinical outcomes and a better physician/patient experience. Our accountability is to the consumers, providers, and partners who use our systems, not to the systems themselves. By creating a culture of empowerment, aligned around the health of the individual, our industry can help build a healthier country.

As a leader, you play a big role in setting the tone for a culture that embraces quality. Time and money will always bring pressure, but that third dimension – quality — is non-negotiable. Fostering personal accountability in your organization and promoting a culture that embraces quality and new ideas will benefit customers and create a more cohesive workforce unified around a common purpose. In the end, accountability won’t be an option. It will become a welcome obligation.

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Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard has joined with more than 150 CEOs from some of the world’s leading companies and signed on to the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™, the largest CEO-driven business commitment to advance diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

By joining, CEOs are pledging to take action to cultivate a workplace where diverse perspectives and experiences are welcomed and respected, where employees feel encouraged to discuss diversity and inclusion, and where best practices can be shared, the coalition said in a news release.

Bruce will bring valuable perspective to the group, given Humana’s longstanding history of leadership in diversity and inclusion. Humana has received a perfect score of 100 in the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index for the past five years, and the company was named a 2017 DiversityInc Noteworthy Company. Earlier this year, Humana ranked No. 40 on CR Magazine’s list of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens, moving up 25 spots from last year.

One of Humana’s core values is Cultivate Uniqueness, which encourages associates to find ways to connect with one another and consumers. By respecting one another, listening with an open mind, and seeking different perspectives, richer solutions emerge. Humana’s Bold Goal is a good example, with the company’s diverse associate base helping make the communities we serve 20 percent healthier by 2020.

“Humana serves millions of members, and each of them is unique,” Bruce said. “By reflecting that diversity in our associate population, we can meet our members where they are on their health journeys and better understand their needs. Our associates’ vast variety of backgrounds, perspectives and beliefs makes us a stronger, more nimble and more empathetic company. I’m looking forward to working with other CEOs in the group as we share and learn from one another.”

Each signatory has committed to taking the following steps to increase diversity and foster inclusion within their respective organizations and the larger business community:

1. Continue to cultivate workplaces that support open dialogue on complex, and sometimes difficult, conversations about diversity and inclusion: Companies will create and maintain environments, platforms, and forums where their employees feel comfortable reaching out to their colleagues to gain greater awareness of each other’s experiences and perspectives.

2. Implement and expand unconscious bias education: Companies commit to rolling out and/or expanding unconscious bias education within their companies in the form that best fits their specific culture and business. By helping employees recognize and minimize any potential blind spots, companies can better facilitate more open and honest conversations.

3. Share best practices: Companies commit to working together to evolve existing diversity strategies by sharing successes and challenges with one another.

The CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion™ recognizes that companies are at different points in their journey to diversity and that companies – like Humana — that are already implementing some or all of the actions can use this as an opportunity to drive greater engagement within their own programs, contribute best practices, and mentor others.

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Bruce BroussardIn a series of LinkedIn Influencer blog posts, Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard shares insights and ideas about the future of health care and discusses the importance of working together to improve the health-care system as well as our own health and well-being. His latest — 3 ways to thrive in your career — is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

How fast is your life moving? It doesn’t matter if you’re leading a company, working in sales, or building things as an engineer. We’re all impacted by the same reality: life today is much faster than in the past, and if you’re in the American workforce, it’s not going to slow down.

New technologies — from voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa to Facebook’s virtual reality headsets — are accelerating change in our society. That change will impact everything, from the way we work to the way we live. People think the answer is to invest in the latest device, or to take a workshop every year or so, or to build a presence on the latest social media platform. While those are respectful pursuits, changes in technology aren’t just impacting jobs; they’re also impacting industries themselves.

Take health care, which is undergoing constant disruption. There is a growing movement to harness the power of technology to deliver the ultimate experience. Artificial intelligence, such as IBM Watson Health, is being used to help physicians better treat their patients. And 23andMe recently received approval from the FDA to democratize personalized medicine by selling “direct-to-consumer tests for 10 genetic risks, including Parkinson’s, late-onset Alzheimer’s, Celiac and Gaucher type 1 diseases.”

In an environment where change is the norm, life will only accelerate, and the challenges and opportunities are bigger than ever. Sometimes you just have to pause and reflect before you can take a step forward.

An insightful perspective

I recently read an intriguing book called “Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations,” by Thomas L. Friedman, the New York Times columnist. The book notes that we live in a time of tremendous acceleration due to technology, and that our basic foundational systems like education, government policies, management training and safety nets often cannot keep up.

Friedman’s book concludes that if you don’t want to be left behind, you must be proactive and self-motivated in being a continuous learner, as these accelerators are impacting all aspects of life. In the fast-changing world of health care, where robots are performing surgeries, continuous learning is a must, given how quickly the industry is embracing technology.

3 ways to thrive

Here are some of the most interesting points that struck me, as well as my takeaway for each. They may offer value for you too:

1. Continuous learning is essential for your career development, no matter where you are in your career journey. In today’s workforce, our traditional pathways to gaining an education and skillset simply won’t be enough. Continuous learning is something everyone will need to participate in to stay relevant in the workforce. Continuous learning also has implications for businesses. With more self-learning in non-traditional ways, a broader market will open up for talent that’s currently not being tapped.

My takeaway: Take personal responsibility for your career (and life) through lifelong learning. In health care, technology is going to keep disrupting the consumer experience, and it’s imperative that organizations provide a platform to help people prepare for these changes.

2. Don’t wait for your job to be impacted by technology. Friedman cites a farm in upstate New York that turned to robotic milkers for its cows. The future of the person who used to milk the cows may require this person to learn coding or big data to analyze cow behavior. For example, the job could become a milking data analyst, examining what time the cows came in to milk and how much they ate. It’s the same in health care. Everyone is exploring how to use data analytics to improve the health of their patients and to use machine learning as a way to complement human decision-making.

My takeaway: Employers and employees have a mutual responsibility in navigating a world that requires evolving skills and capabilities. Whether it’s a hospital, a health plan or a small physician’s office, we all must evolve in our accelerated world.

3. Find your true purpose and contribute to the community where you live. Friedman explores how communities thrive when they’re based upon purpose and a values system rather than simple obedience to rules. In the world before social media, Friedman argues there was a sense of shared responsibility in communities. When you’re a part of the physical fabric of the community (store or restaurant), you have a sense of shared responsibility in the community’s success. When you have shared responsibility, your purpose is clearer. The acceleration of change creates issues that we must deal with at a community level — with values vs. policies. Only by leading with values and principles, not by providing a series of prescriptive instructions, will we be successful.

My takeaway: Be sure to understand and appreciate the significance of social contracts – brought to life through shared values and common purpose — as the foundation for strong communities.

A famous optimist, Leonardo da Vinci, once said that “learning never exhausts the mind.” Combined with a sense of optimism, there is no better attitude for thriving in an age of acceleration.

 

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Bruce BroussardIn a series of LinkedIn Influencer blog posts, Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard shares insights and ideas about the future of health care and discusses the importance of working together to improve the health-care system as well as our own health and well-being. His latest — The Human Problem With Health Technology — is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

One of my favorite activities is taking a bike ride. It’s a wonderful way to experience nature and challenge myself. How many miles did I ride? How long did it take? Did I do better than my last time?

Cycling is traditionally an individual sport, so I use a Garmin device to answer those questions. My Garmin device provides me with details, but it’s limited when it comes to seeing how I relate to others who also love cycling. For that, I use the app Strava.

Strava is a way for me and others to see how we measure up to one another. Strava is not a device, but it’s designed to create a community by connecting fellow cyclists. You can follow anyone on it.

Despite the individuality of cycling, there is a need to connect with other people who share this experience. There’s a social aspect to the sport, and it reflects the challenge we face with technology in health care today: Technology must be easy to use and deliver the human connection to improve a person’s health.

And nowhere is this more critical than in America’s rapidly growing senior population—a large number of whom are grappling with multiple chronic conditions.

Addressing Loneliness and Isolation

America’s seniors could benefit greatly from more human-centered technology. Three out of four Americans aged 65 or older live with multiple chronic conditions, and 71 percent of the money spent on health care in the U.S. is associated with chronic conditions. And the baby-boom generation is steaming into retirement, with 10,000 people a day aging into Medicare.

But health isn’t just about the physical aspects. Research has found that 17 percent of adults age 65 or older are isolated, and 26 percent are at increased risk of death due to subjective feelings of loneliness. If a person is living alone, and dealing with multiple chronic conditions, he or she might become depressed. People also won’t eat right or be active if they’re depressed.

Our species needs to connect with other people. Yet millions of seniors are lonely; they don’t have adequate social connections. That innate need to connect, to be social, and to be loved and to love other people is not being met in a large part of the population.

Things like remote monitoring technology can help, but only if it incorporates a person’s lifestyle and the physician/patient relationship. Technology has to go beyond monitoring basic physical activity. Devices have to achieve true connections and address real chronic health problems, like the nearly five million Americans in the U.S. who have congestive heart failure (CHF).

An Example of Connected Health

In order to help our members with chronic conditions spend more time living their lives by staying out of the hospital, we launched a CHF remote monitoring pilot program to help them keep track of their condition.

When a person has CHF, his or her heart doesn’t pump strongly enough to move blood around the body. As a result, the person retains water – in places such as the lungs, legs or chest cavity – and can suffer from shortness of breath. If the person experiences a significant change in weight from the previous day, this could signal a complication, which might lead to a trip to the hospital.

At Humana, we’re all too familiar with CHF. Approximately 300,000 of our 3.2 million Humana Medicare Advantage (MA) members live with CHF, and they account for more than 40 percent of MA admissions. Here’s how the pilot program works, with a member we’ll call “Brenda.”

After being selected, Brenda met with her primary care physician and a nurse. She was shown how to use a smart scale that would send her weight to Humana every day. When Brenda weighed herself the next morning, the scale sent her weight to her nurse, who called Brenda to congratulate her on her first weigh in.

If Brenda’s weight were outside an established range, her physician and nurse would be immediately notified. The nurse could then contact Brenda to see if she needed a new prescription or a consultation with the physician, enabling Brenda to have her weight fluctuation addressed immediately without having to go to the hospital.

Ease of Use and Human Connection

Members who participated in the CHF pilot program weighed in 88 percent of the time during the first 100 days. So why has this program been successful? There are two core elements: ease of use and human connection.

The table stakes for remote monitoring is ease of use. Brenda’s scale has no plug, no buttons, and requires almost no instructions. She doesn’t need Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to use the scale, and she doesn’t need to register it anywhere. Her scale simply works right out of the box. To be certain Brenda knows exactly what to do with her scale, she used it in front of her nurse as soon as she received it.

But to keep weighing in every day, this new activity has to be bonded to something Brenda values: human connection. Because Brenda knows her nurse is on the other side of the scale, and is looking out for her health and well-being, she is more likely to weigh in each day. Additionally, we have found that group enrollment sessions help people like Brenda because they see other people with CHF taking action to monitor their condition.

The program only works if people like Brenda take a small action each day. Technology can make it easier for Brenda to take that action, but in the end she will do it because of deeper, more human motivations like connecting to others.

There are other elements that help enhance the effectiveness of health-related technology, in addition to ease of use and the human connection, such as the motivation that comes as a result of a person seeing his or her specific progress (personalized, real-time, relevant information, aka the “so what”). This can be a powerful hook for encouraging ongoing engagement and helping people become more knowledgeable, and confident, in managing their condition. For example, the CHF pilot also includes sending “certificates of accomplishment,” recognizing those who’ve reached various milestones and that receiving recognition for their effort seemed to be an effective way of keeping people engaged.

The Way Forward

Health-related technology such as remote monitoring and scales can help our aging population improve their health. But it won’t do so unless the technology brings together the lifestyle and clinical aspects of a person’s health in a way that makes it easy to get people more engaged in managing their health.

The integration of physicians and clinicians, as we’ve seen with our CHF program, is important; their recommendations carry influence, and they can ensure that the data is used to highlight moments of influence. The key is not just the utilization of the technology; it’s the design and integration of the program. There is a real need for deep clinical engagement, both in getting people engaged in their health and in helping physicians and other health care providers move beyond prevention and wellness and toward managing chronic conditions.

At Humana, taking care of seniors living with multiple chronic conditions is what we do best. The role of technology is only going to become more important. But let’s never forget that technology must make things easier and more human to make a difference in health.

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Forbes.com and other media have taken note of Humana’s Bold Goal progress, reporting on the company’s success in improving the health of the communities it serves.

“Improving the health of an entire community is difficult and no one person or organization can do it alone,” Humana CEO Bruce Broussard told Forbes, which made note of Humana’s Bold Goal communities in San Antonio, Texas; Louisville, Ky.; the Tampa Bay, Fla. area; Broward County, Fla.; New Orleans; Baton Rouge, La.: and Knoxville, Tenn.

The Forbes article noted that “health plan members in participating ‘Bold Goal’ communities decreased their number of unhealthy days by a ‘margin of 3 percent’ from 2015 to 2016. Meanwhile, Humana health plan members across the country decreased their unhealthy days by 2 percent.”

Forbes also quoted Humana’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Roy Beveridge, who said, “If you have diabetes and suffer from a behavioral health condition such as depression or are impacted by one of these social determinants, the outcomes are worse and the cost is much higher. When we think about what it takes to manage the health of a population, addressing these social determinants and behavioral health challenges must be done if we want to drive down costs and help people improve their health.”

Read the full Forbes article here.

Other media outlets have also covered the report, including:

FierceHealthcare
Managed Care magazine
Employee Benefit News
American Journal of Managed Care
Business First
Becker’s Hospital Review
Insider Louisville

Read the full 2017 Bold Goal progress report here.

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