healthy living

There’s nothing like the unconditional love of a dog – and that love can be life-changing. Now, dog lovers across Humana, who have connected for years on the company’s intranet to share their experiences with man’s best friend, have gone public with their pooches in a new book released on Amazon in February.

The 200+ page book, titled “The Dog Lovers of Humana: How Employees of a Well-being Company, With Their Canine Companions, Take the Journey Towards Happier and Healthier Lives,” is packed with heartwarming stories contributed by 82 Humana employees, each of whom shares how a dog has made a difference in their well-being. The stories represent 146 dogs and include 500 pictures. Authored by “Humana Employees and Their Best Buddies” and edited by Sarah Stephens, Business Consultant in IT, the e-version made its debut on Amazon on February 11, with a bound version following a few days later.

“Our dogs are such important partners in our lives,” says Sarah, an animal rescue advocate who currently lives with eight dogs of her own. “They help us gain better health, safety, a purpose to life, and a sense of belonging.”

The support the group received as they worked on the book was impressive, with a variety of teams and leaders reacting with enthusiasm and lending guidance throughout the process. An incredibly tightly knit group, the Dog Lovers intranet group believes Humana’s culture is enhanced by the ability to connect online in a personal way about something other than work that matters to them.

All proceeds from the sale of this book will be given to three dog rescue operations within the U.S.

Read Full Article

When Humana started Project San Antonio (the precursor to its Bold Goal), the company recognized Pattie Dale Tye, who was serving as president of Humana’s Large Employer Group Business, as an ideal leader. Pattie Dale’s love of community has been evident throughout her 13 years at Humana. She is now being recognized by Today’s Woman magazine as one of their “Most Admired Woman” finalists.

The award recognizes women in Kentuckiana who have excelled in their careers and community service, making them role models to many. In addition to Pattie Dale’s many contributions to Humana as a respected and admired leader and mentor, she has contributed significantly to the Louisville community through Board service roles with Metro United Way, the Louisville Zoo, Trees Louisville and the Kentucky State Chamber.

Please support Pattie Dale by voting daily between now and March 22 by clicking this link and searching for Pattie Dale in the Corporate category (one vote per email address per day). *Note that the ballot works best in Chrome, Edge, Safari or Firefox internet browsers.

Winners will be honored at an event on June 26 and featured in the June issue of Today’s Woman.

Read Full Article

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 — Is a Positive Nudge Better than Fear? — is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

Fear is used to influence how we behave, how we shop, how we save, what we eat, how much we exercise. From purchasing the safest car to baby-proofing our homes, fear drives us in many ways.

But is fear effective in health? Yes, people will lose weight because they’re afraid of having a heart attack. Yet others will lose weight because they want to have more energy to do the things they love and have a longer, more fulfilling life. When it comes to changing behaviors, is fear the best motivator?

In health care, our ability to change unhealthy behaviors – and thus improve outcomes and lower costs – will determine the sustainability of the system. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “86 percent of the nation’s $2.7 trillion annual health care expenditures are for people with chronic and mental health conditions.”

Chronic conditions are the most preventable of health issues because they’re the result of unhealthy decisions made over time. This leads to a question: How do you “nudge” people toward positive behavior change?

I recently finished the revised and expanded edition of a book called Nudge, by Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein. The authors offer several insights on how unhealthy behaviors can be corrected.

Here are four concepts from the book that grabbed my attention and how each can be used to change unhealthy behaviors among seniors and those living with multiple chronic conditions:

#1: Frame the choice without the negative. Thaler and Sunstein examine how a person with a serious heart disease is presented with a “grueling operation.” They state the following:

“The doctor says, ‘of one hundred patients who have this operation, ninety are alive after five years.’ What will you do? If we fill in the facts in a certain way, the doctor’s statement will be pretty comforting, and you’ll probably have the operation. But suppose the doctor frames his answer in a somewhat different way…‘Of one hundred patients who have this operation, ten are dead after five years.’” Thaler and Sunstein go on to say, “If you’re like most people, the doctor’s statement will sound pretty alarming, and you might not have the operation.” The same goes for doctors themselves. “When doctors are told that ‘ninety of one hundred are alive,’ they are more likely to recommend the operation than if told that ‘ten of one hundred are dead.’”

The Nudge: Physicians, nurses, care professionals and caregivers who care for seniors living with multiple chronic conditions have much influence. It’s natural for a senior not to want to undergo an operation where there is risk. Thaler and Sunstein note that “a good way to increase people’s fear of a bad outcome is to remind them of a related incident in which things went wrong; a good way to increase people’s confidence is to remind them of a similar situation in which everything worked out for the best.” Nudges that frame the positives, while highlighting the ideal outcome, will help people take steps to evolve from unhealthy behaviors.

#2: Don’t underestimate the power of priming. Referred to by the authors as “the somewhat mysterious workings of the Automatic System of the brain,” the concept has been proven to show that “subtle influences can increase the ease with which certain information comes to mind.” The authors write:

“With respect to health-related behavior, significant changes have been produced by measuring people’s intentions. If people are asked how often they expect to floss their teeth in the next week, they floss more. If people are asked whether they intend to consume fatty foods in the next week, they consume less in the way of fatty foods. The nudge provided by asking people what they intend to do can be accentuated by asking them when and how they plan to do it.”

The Nudge: Consistent patient engagement is essential, especially when focused on sustaining behavior change. Physicians don’t have a lot of time outside the office for helping patients make better daily decisions. But by nudging the patient, the care team shows an active interest in the patient’s health and can improve outcomes.

#3: Incentives are a better option than talking down to someone. Thaler and Sunstein describe how a simple nudge can lower the teen pregnancy rate, saying teenage mothers “often become pregnant again within a year or two.”

The two cite a “dollar a day” program, “by which teenage girls with a baby receive a dollar for each day in which they are not pregnant…A dollar a day is a trivial cost to the city, even for a year or two, so the plan’s total cost is extremely low, but the small recurring payment is salient enough to encourage teenage mothers to take steps to avoid getting pregnant again. And because taxpayers end up paying a significant amount for many children born to teenagers, the costs appear to be far less than the benefits.”

The Nudge: Sustaining action requires sustained commitment. For seniors living with chronic diseases like Congestive Heart Failure, where the heart weakens over time, life is already difficult. Positive encouragement, through nudging from the care teams, can help them stay the course.

#4: People can make good decisions when presented with non-biased facts. In the bonus chapter, Thaler and Sunstein discuss how New York City adopted a law requiring fast-food chains to display the caloric intake of each of their foods. The authors applaud the preference of mandating information vs. mandating ingredients.

The Nudge: Many of us have experienced this nudge by reading the information in fast-food restaurants. It’s a powerful influence because it doesn’t pass judgment on an option; it merely states the impact of the decision. Making someone feel guilty for his or her unhealthy decisions over a lifetime won’t change behavior.

For far too long, health in our country has been marketed through fear. Given how unhealthy our country has become, it’s time for a change.

Health is hard, especially for seniors living with multiple chronic conditions, limited financial means, and often limited support from family and friends. We have to avoid talking down to people and painting dire scenarios.

At Humana, we’re responsible for the health and well-being of 14 million Americans; 3.3 million of them are Medicare Advantage members, and many of them are living with chronic conditions. I’ve seen firsthand how a nudge – not fear – from a physician, nurse or other care team member can help a person change behavior for the better.

Let’s build a healthier country with helpful nudges, not fear.

Read Full Article

As chronic medical conditions continue to rise in America, the problem is made worse by a “complicated health care delivery system that’s neither consumer centric nor easy to navigate,” said Dr. Roy Beveridge, Humana’s Chief Medical Officer.

He wrote an article for NEJM Catalyst, making the case for a more holistic approach to care.

“Fragmented. Inefficient. Episodic. These terms are frequently used to describe the U.S. health care system, which was not designed to handle the fact that three out of four Americans aged 65 and older are living with multiple chronic conditions,” Dr. Beveridge wrote. “If we want this system to effectively handle the chronic disease epidemic, we must evolve our clinical mind-set and fee-for-service reimbursement structure from the episode-driven ‘one-and-done’ system to a consumer-centered, integrated care approach supported by value-based reimbursement.”

He noted that Americans have developed unhealthy habits – like poor diets and a lack of exercise – that have fueled the growth of chronic conditions such as diabetes, coronary artery disease, congestive heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Combatting that requires a fresh approach and more preventive care.

“The path to value must move beyond the transaction-driven, fee-for-service approach that has been the foundation of the U.S. health care system for decades,” he wrote. “Health care professionals must spend time educating and engaging their patients, and must be incentivized to do so in a value-based agreement. A value-based approach that builds a strong relationship between the physician and the patient and recognizes that health is local and happens outside the doctor’s office is the best approach to solving the chronic-condition epidemic of the 21st century.”

Read the full article here.

Read Full Article

Dr. Wayne Tuckson opens his KET interview of Dr. Bryan Loy, Humana medical director and co-chair of the Louisville Health Advisory Board, with “Health care improvement at the community level is more than a notion. It requires many partners to be effective.”

The audience instantly knows there will need to be some strong evidence that Humana’s Bold Goal – a commitment to improve the health of communities 20 percent by 2020 by making it easy for people to achieve their best health – is making progress.

“If we can get to the social determinants of health and we can get to the behaviors and we can level the disparities around health literacy, then we can get to better outcomes by taking care of each other,” explains Dr. Loy.

Watch the rest of their in-depth conversation about Healthy Days and how Humana and its partners are working to co-create more of them.

Read Full Article