Healthcare

Addressing social determinants of health – things like food insecurity, transportation and loneliness – can dramatically improve well-being while reducing health care costs, according to a recent article in Forbes that used Humana as an example.

The article noted that Humana is “investing and partnering in certain communities as part of a “Bold Goal Initiative” that targets a variety of social determinants.”

“Physicians are where we always start, but it’s also very important to work with non-profits, for-profits, faith-based and other organizations,” said Humana’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Roy Beveridge. “In the new world of population health, we need to drive community engagement and better health outcomes through local organizations like the grocery store, the local Y, and a food bank. And, we must define metrics and measure progress in order to demonstrate value back to the community.”

The article also noted the trend away from fee-for-service medicine and toward value-based care, where health care professionals are paid on the basis of improved health, rather than on the volume of care.

“The shift to value-based care and population health means more use of a CVS nurse practitioner, a nutritionist in the home via Humana’s Humana At Home service or a Walgreens pharmacist at the drugstore counter administering a vaccine or providing advice on the most effective medicine,” the article noted.

Read the article here.

Read Full Article

Loneliness is a health hazard, much like smoking and obesity, the AARP reports. And health care companies like Humana are using new procedures to diagnose and treat the condition.

In the article, Dr. Roy Beveridge, Humana’s Chief Medical Officer, noted that Humana’s Bold Goal considers loneliness a social determinant of health in much the same way as lack of transportation or food insecurity or poverty. He noted that Humana has introduced several pilot programs to find ways of addressing such issues.

“For example, because correlation between social isolation and food insecurity is high, Humana is working with Meals on Wheels to assess whether interacting with the member while dropping off the food is successful,” the article said.

Dr. Beveridge said, “We have to look at this from a multitude of directions to determine which approach will contribute positively to the solution.”

Read the full story here.

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 — Want success? Be prepared to fail — is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

“No pain, no gain” is a mantra for many people who exercise, motivating them to lose weight or get in shape.

Yet in other facets of our lives, we reflexively avoid pain, adversity and even uncertainty. A potential entrepreneur may hesitate to launch a startup because it could fail. A student may avoid law school for fear of the bar exam. Or a leader not open to new ideas could hinder a company’s ability to capitalize on opportunities.

It’s part of human nature to avoid pain. But pain, adversity and uncertainty, despite the hardships they bring, are where you can truly experience life. If you think about it, avoiding pain in its entirety can make you miss life’s real rewards.

Take the book “Principles,” by Ray Dalio. He’s the founder of Bridgewater Associates, a highly successful financial services firm. In the book, Dalio examines the concept of decision-making and provides a way for the reader to create a series of life principles and work principles. An underlying theme is our aversion to pain; Dalio advises us to embrace reality and deal with it, as opposed to ignoring it.

Dalio developed these principles after watching his startup business grow to 16 people and then shrink to one employee – himself. He had been “dead wrong” on a critical financial venture. Dalio realized that if he “was going to move forward without a high likelihood of getting whacked again, I would have to look at myself objectively and change.” Enter the concept of principles.

Here are three key takeaways from some of the principles in Dalio’s book and how his principles might not only help you, but also help change health care.

Be prepared to fail well. It’s good to fail. We’ve all done it. And if we learn from failure, better things will come from it. In Principles, Dalio writes:

“Everyone fails…The people I respect most are those who fail well. I respect them even more than those who succeed. That is because failing is a painful experience while succeeding is a joyous one, so it requires much more character to fail, change, and then succeed than to just succeed.”

In our careers, we tend to think failure can set us back years. Yet some of the greatest mistakes — from Steve Jobs being booted from Apple, the company he founded, to Thomas Edison’s 1,000 failed attempts to create the light bulb — paved the way for transformational success. Dalio says mistakes are “a natural part of the evolutionary process.”

So if failure knocks you down, like it has done for many of us, you’re certainly not down for the count. You have the choice to rise back up and get closer to success. In any career journey, Dalio writes, failures “can either be the impetus that fuels your personal evolution or they can ruin you, depending on how you react to them.”

Health care needs to fail like Thomas Edison failed. There have been many attempts to rein in health care costs. But focusing on costs won’t solve the core issue, because costs are a reflection of our society’s unhealthy lifestyles. I’ve seen that a broader approach, designed to help people change behaviors at all phases of life, will help bring down these rising costs. It’s not going to happen overnight for all of us, but if we keep at it and learn from our mistakes, it will.

Experience life by being less pain-averse. Failure can lead to pain, but if you can open yourself to more difficult situations, you’ll enhance your chances for long-term success. It’s important to realize that if you want to succeed, you have to be willing to get comfortable being uncomfortable, and you can do this by embracing difficult situations. The journey – good and bad and everything in between — is where life happens.

If you can move beyond being pain-averse and push ahead when things get difficult, you’ll be heading in the right direction. As Dalio says:

“Every time you confront something painful, you are at a potentially important juncture in your life—you have the opportunity to choose healthy and painful truth or unhealthy but comfortable delusion.”

Health care is changing, and change can be difficult. I’ve been in the health care industry for decades, and the industry is heavily focused on how new technologies, from blockchain to artificial intelligence, can deliver better patient care. Health care is also changing from episodic care to focusing on managing health holistically, recognizing the importance that lifestyle plays in overall health. Getting comfortable with these changes will almost certainly improve the lives of many people.

Be open-minded, radically open-minded. You can fail. You can make mistakes. But you need perspective, beyond your own, to make use of these experiences. Being open to diverse points of view can only make you better. You might have issues, as a leader, not knowing all the answers. Yet in my experience, I’ve seen that the best leaders are the ones who seek out fresh perspectives.

Dalio encourages radical open-mindedness and radical transparency, which are “invaluable for rapid learning and effective change…Being radically open-minded enhances the efficiency of those feedback loops, because it makes what you are doing, and why, so clear to yourself and others that there can’t be any misunderstandings.”

For example, take a look around your office. If you have diversity of thought, diversity of culture and diversity of males and females – but don’t have an inclusive environment where people feel welcome and safe to be their true selves – it will be difficult to create new ideas. Being open-minded and seeking alternative opinions is an important part of being a good executive, family member or community leader.

Health care does not have all the answers. Our industry has made tremendous advances, but to continue this momentum, we must look outside our industry for answers, starting first with the perspective and needs of health care consumers. The industry also needs to listen to and partner with physicians and clinicians, as they play the most critical role in improving patient health.

Health care is evolving. For the benefit of health care consumers, it’s time to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

Read Full Article

Spending time outdoors can be good for your health, offering everything from improved cognitive performance to decreased stress levels, according to Will Shafroth, President and CEO of the National Park Foundation, and Dr. Roy Beveridge, Humana’s Chief Medical Officer.

Next Avenue recently published a conversation between the two as they discussed the physical and mental benefits of visiting national parks and enjoying their natural beauty.

“Healthy recreation like walking, biking or playing is associated with physical, mental and spiritual health, as well as social well-being,” Dr. Beveridge said. “There is also evidence to suggest that exposure to natural environments could have a variety of positive health benefits.

“Natural environments affect human health and well-being both directly and indirectly, according to the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Environmental Science,” he wrote. “Urban green and outdoor areas provide opportunities for stress recovery and physical activity, in addition to offering spaces for social interactions, which are vital for mental health.

“Chronic stress, physical inactivity and lack of social cohesion are three major risk factors in people with poor health, and therefore exposure to abundant greenery and outdoor environments is an important asset for health promotion.”

The two noted that Humana and the National Park Foundation partnered with Florida International University and MetCare medical practices to introduce a Park Rx program that gave physicians and other care providers the ability to “prescribe” park activity to their patients. Analyzing the results showed that the program fostered better health and well-being by inspiring people to head outdoors.

“We need to make it easy for physicians to treat their patients, and not only with the necessary pharmaceuticals,” Dr Beveridge said. “We need to prescribe resources that engage patients in healthy activities that can lead to better lifestyle decisions and ultimately healthy behavior change. Physical activity is vital to achieving better health, and it’s up to us to make it easy for physicians to make those recommendations to their patients.”

Read the full conversation here.

Read Full Article

By Chad Johnson, Chief Procurement Officer, Humana 

Every day, I try to “Take 10” – a well-being break Humana, my employer, actively encourages all of its employees to do. Depending on my day, my “Take 10” might be some stretches at my desk or a walk with my team. No matter what my well-being break is, it makes me feel connected to a larger sense of well-being and purpose.

That purpose, the vision and goal of improving ourselves and our local communities, is deeply entrenched at Humana. In fact, it’s so deeply entrenched that we’ve given it a name – the Bold Goal – and defined it as our goal to improve the health of our employees and the communities we serve 20 percent by 2020.

While that might sound lofty, the Bold Goal is important to me and my team. The direct connection to Humana’s health plan members and the patients at our medical facilities isn’t always easy to see when you work in Enterprise Procurement and Vendor Services (EPVS). But, the Bold Goal gives us a clear connection to our members and motivates us to inspire health and help people live healthier lives however we can.

We actively encourage our department to take steps to increase health and reduce stress. Walking meetings and standing desks are common sights on our floor. We’ve held Healthy Pot Luck and Team Stretch and Walk events, combining healthy food, team bonding and exercise.

Among my favorite ways we’ve embraced Humana’s Bold Goal as a team is volunteering. Volunteering as a team connects us to our own sense of well-being by giving back and allows us to lend a helping hand to our local community in Louisville, Ky. The EPVS team frequently participates in “Blessings in a Backpack” on Fridays, packing backpacks to make sure school children have food to eat on the weekends. At a recent quarterly meeting, our team wrote more than 100 inspirational cards for seniors living at Little Sisters of the Poor – St. Joseph’s Home. I’m proud to work for a company that cares deeply about its employees and the well-being of all the communities we touch.

In our daily work, the EVPS team furthers Humana’s vision of well-being by the types of vendors we contract with and the kinds of programs we create for members. Shortly after joining Humana in 2017, I traveled to Miami to learn more about one of our enterprise vendors. This particular vendor helps Humana deliver meals to Medicare Advantage members the week following a hospital stay, a time when seniors are often vulnerable health-wise. The program includes three easy, nutritious, fresh meals a day for a week. Walking around the vendor’s warehouse, I clearly felt how my work directly affected our members and improved health in Miami.

Taken together, Humana’s Bold Goal is motivational and inspirational. It gives me and my team a clear connection and purpose in our work. It helps us contribute to Humana’s work to be an outstanding corporate citizen in all the communities we serve. And, the Bold Goal makes us feel good about what we’re working towards each and every day.

Read Full Article