healthy living

Humana employees have reached their Bold Goal of achieving 20% more Healthy Days, gaining 2.3 million more Healthy Days – or roughly an extra week of better days per year for each associate – compared to their starting point.

Employees went from an average 6.1 Unhealthy Days per month in 2012 to 4.9 Unhealthy Days in 2018.

Humana’s Bold Goal is a business and health strategy to help improve the health of the communities the company serves 20 percent by 2020 and beyond, by making it easier for people to achieve their best health. By using Healthy Days, a population health tool developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Humana is able to measure self-reported mental and physical Unhealthy days of an individual over a 30-day period.

Determined to lead from the front, Humana employees strived to achieve the 20 percent improvement within their own workforce community. They found that the Bold Goal – with its focus on healthier living, addressing chronic conditions such as diabetes and depression, as well as the social determinants of health like food insecurity and loneliness – inspired an even greater sense of purpose in their work and teams.

The Bold Goal has further energized Humana’s already strong commitment to its employees and improving the four holistic dimensions of well-being — Purpose, Health, Belonging and Security. The result is a community of over 40,000 employees who have experienced very personal improvement in day-to-day life. They are emotionally and physically healthier, have stronger relationships and are more optimistic, creative and productive.

“We’re all incredibly proud of this achievement,” said Tim State, Senior Vice President of Associate Health and Well-being at Humana. “Working toward our Bold Goal has brought us together and quickened the pace of our well-being movement. Well-being journeys are personal, but it’s challenging to find your best health alone. We’ve been helping and inspiring one another, and along the way we’ve learned how to better help our members achieve a better mental and physical quality of life. It’s a reason to celebrate, and to keep striving.”

Fresh off the Bold Goal success with its employees, Humana renewed its commitment and set a new goal to achieve 500,000 more Healthy Days by the end of 2022. The new milestone will continue to inspire employees toward Humana’s ultimate purpose of helping people achieve lifelong well-being. And it reinforces the fact that our employees and our members are on this well-being journey together.

The new Bold Goal 2022 target for Humana employees will sustain momentum and build upon what the company has learned about Healthy Days and improving health outcomes. To get there, Humana will continue to focus on a whole-person view of health while creating and embedding population health strategies throughout the enterprise

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The Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville recently profiled the Daily Manna Serving Center, which distributes food to those in need. The pantry, founded eight years ago by Pastor Gerald Dinkins, serves about 2,500 people a month and is supported by Humana’s Bold Goal initiative.

Those who visit the pantry also receive free diabetes education and screening and take part in healthy cooking and exercise classes. Partners include St. Vincent’s HealthCare, Baptist Health and UF Health.

The success of the program is tracked with the Healthy Days metric developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “The questionnaire asks people how many days in the past month they felt physically or mentally unhealthy and how their activity levels were affected,” the newspaper reported. “So far the results are positive.”

“It’s helping each other out, helping our neighbors,” said Bobbie Cox, a recipient and volunteer who shares his food with his neighbors. “Every little bit helps.”

Read the story here.

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Maria Hughes, Humana Senior Vice President and Chief Inclusion & Diversity Officer, has been included on the Black Enterprise list of the 2019 Most Powerful Women in Corporate Diversity.

This prestigious list – featuring only 45 women – appears in the magazine’s First Quarter 2019 issue. Read more in this news release.

Earl “Butch” Graves, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of Black Enterprise, called the list an “exclusive roster of the highest-ranking, most influential African American female executives at some of the nation’s largest companies.”

He said it would be “an essential listing for our readers; one that identifies women who are vital to the management of major corporations, from marketing and talent development to procurement spending and financial performance.”

“We’re proud of Maria and her team and the way they cultivate our vibrant culture at Humana,” said Tim Huval, Chief Human Resources Officer. “Inclusion and Diversity drives innovation and thought leadership at our company, meaning everyone is encouraged to speak up and be heard. We reflect our communities, which allows us to connect with our members and provide the best care possible.”

Black Enterprise (BE) “is the premier business, investing, and wealth-building resource for African Americans. Since 1970, BE has provided essential business information and advice to professionals, corporate executives, entrepreneurs, and decision makers.”

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Look beyond sheer permission space and build the right culture

William Fleming, President, Healthcare Services at Humana, recently posted this blog on LinkedIn:

We all have an idea of what our specific roles are at work and how we should perform our jobs. We also know there are times when we see opportunities to do more – or better. Maybe it involves going out of the way for our customer, doing something atypical or beyond the scope of our routine duties. Perhaps it involves more time, expense, or engaging others outside of our primary work teams. It might even mean we make a decision outside of our normal purview. So, when these circumstances present themselves, do we forge ahead? Or, do we fear repercussions? Can we summon the right resources? Or do we stop short because it seems to be too much trouble, too complicated, or too risky to go the distance?

Ultimately, the answer lies in the type of culture we’ve established in our workplace, and it goes far beyond simple permission to act with autonomy. It’s a multi-layered approach that comes with time, continuous leadership support, and an organization’s transparent commitment to always do the right thing, even if there are short-term costs to get to the greater goal. Once you “get there,” though, your employees have what I like to call the “freedom to serve,” perhaps the pinnacle of a healthy service organization. To me, it means your employees, regardless of role, feel unfettered by red tape, doubt or fear and, instead, are empowered to take the reins and do well by doing good – serving their customers the way they are naturally impassioned to do. Here are some ingredients for making it happen.

Step 1: Encourage authenticity

At Humana, we’ve made great strides in the right direction, culturally speaking. Part of our journey has included the foundational idea of “bringing your whole self to work” – being comfortable in your own skin, as much in the workplace as in your personal life. It goes beyond simply knowing that it’s “okay” to come to work with different backgrounds, experiences, and ideas, but being proud of it, believing that your employer and colleagues relish such diversity. It means understanding that your work culture acknowledges the unequivocal value of having a robust and varied team that can relate to its robust and varied customer base. It also means you realize your company values your own health and well-being as a priority and wants you to feel good about who you are and what you do. It’s the first step, I think, in creating this safe environment where your employees can be authentic, feel appreciated, and start to feel free to work in their best capacity.

Step 2: Eliminate fear

This is not an easy task – this work of creating a sustainable safe environment. It’s easy to establish so many rules, processes, and guidelines – especially in a highly regulated industry like health care – that your employees worry about speaking up when they see a problem, have a suggestion, or want to step outside of bounds to do a better job. Keep in mind, we all come from the “real world.” We’ve likely been ostracized or reprimanded for standing out or standing up before – if not in a past job, maybe during our school years. So, there is a reason why we put up our guard and are skeptical of being open, forthcoming, and assertive in the face of potential judgment. That’s why it becomes imperative as leaders in an organization to show our own vulnerability, step outside of our own comfort zone, and repeatedly relay the benefits of innovative thinking and doing. Invest in efforts that show it’s okay to “test, fail, and scale.” Challenge the status quo. Or, as I often say, think like a rookie, asking the sometimes weird or uncomfortable questions. If your organization sees this as your leadership style, your employees will quickly get the message that sometimes real progress comes as the result of taking chances and abandoning fear.

Step 3: Champion the “changers”

If you want a culture of people who bring their authentic selves to work, do not operate in fear, and who feel free to fully serve others – including customers – you really have to acknowledge and support the bold ones who stick out their necks. Let me give you an example:

Recently, one of our Humana Pharmacy Solutions employees was talking to a Medicare member by phone. She found out that this member was not only struggling to pay his pharmacy bill but was also struggling to buy the right food for his diabetic condition. Knowing about Humana’s Bold Goal work (helping people whose health and well-being are jeopardized due to negative “social determinants of health,” such as food insecurity, loneliness and isolation), this employee took it upon herself to connect our member with another Humana team and with community resources, resulting in groceries being delivered to him that same day! The point here is that, had we not established a culture in which this employee felt the freedom to extend herself beyond her routine duties, this member may not have been helped in all the ways needed. She felt comfortable not only thinking outside of the box but finding and connecting to resources in a different part of the organization, while keeping the end goal – helping our member – her North Star.

The other key thing to note is that, after this story made the rounds, the Humana Pharmacy Solutions team decided to update their own workflows to better support our members in the future. Thus, if one of their telephonic service employees suspects a member may have needs beyond the original nature of their phone call, they now have a built-in green light to take more time on the call to connect them to the right resources.

Did the story die after this particular customer was helped and some process changes occurred? Not at all! Our CEO, Bruce Broussard, regularly shares this story. It’s been shared at leader meetings and on our Intranet. We also just did a podcast about it, while promoting it via our internal social network. Four months later, we are still championing the people and the proactivity, clearly expressing to others that this is part of our company values.

Set up the steps but, then, step out

Ultimately, you’ve hired a great workforce to do a variety of jobs, and you hired them because you trust that they have the skills and experience you need to provide high-quality service to your customers, growing your business along the way. Hopefully, you’ve also hired them because you trust their judgment and want them to be able to execute the best way they see fit. So while we have a responsibility to provide structure, steps, and guardrails to keep everyone focused and on track, we also have a responsibility to “get out of the way” and let our teams make real headway. Those who are on the front lines of care, especially in our industry, often know the customer the best. They listen day in and day out; they care for them day in and day out; they also have the quickest and easiest route to make a real difference in their lives – if we let them. So let’s let them!

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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 — What does 2019 look like for health care? — is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

In the current environment, constant and negative debate over health care makes it easy for us to be down on our industry. But I’m excited about health care’s potential, and I’m proud of the progress we’ve made.

I believe we are at the pivot point of greatly improving health care. More people are being treated under reimbursement models – like Medicare Advantage – that incent complete health, not just the delivery of care. In addition, advancements in digital technologies – such as home-based monitoring devices and personalized science – are increasing the opportunity to leverage the growing sophistication of analytics, artificial intelligence, natural language processing, and machine learning.

Progress today and on the horizon

I’ve seen promising advancements in interoperability, which is empowering patients and resulting in better care. Interoperability gives doctors and other clinicians a complete view of the patient’s medical history, which increases the personalization and timeliness of care interventions.

We have been critical of electronic medical records, but EMRs have digitized millions of paper medical records, increasing the velocity and volume of information and allowing for more complete and timely decisions.

I see parallels in the history of banking. Interconnecting and digitizing bank transactions – and implementing interstate banking laws — permanently changed the banking structure, creating a more convenient and cheaper system. An example is how stock trades decreased from $75 to $.05 per trade. In health care, that degree of cost reduction would greatly expand the affordability of care and significantly reduce our federal and state deficits.

As I’ve written before, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has challenged the health care industry through the Blue Button initiative, which was designed to drive the necessary, useful interoperability to enable all physicians and all consumers to manage their health online, like they do with their bank accounts and investments.

Patient information needs to be shared, and we can’t encourage business models that impede the process. The good news is we’re moving in the right direction.

Experiencing it myself

For the last few months, I’ve experienced the future of interoperability firsthand by using my Apple Health Kit to download my own health data to my iPhone. Thanks to FHIR, which helps enable this process, I can easily view my patient information — from annual checkups to data such as blood pressure, weight and BMI.

Apple Health Records was launched just 11 months ago, and the company has been the first to gain traction on the EMR. Imagine what will happen when more iPhone users like me do this and the 100 million Android users in the U.S. catch on.

Such data doesn’t just help patients; it’s helping the physicians who care for them. At Humana, we’ve asked our 3.5 million Medicare Advantage members for permission to access their Medicare information – scripts, doctor visits, etc. We can then use this information to design and price health products specifically for them.

Data sharing, fueled by true interoperability, will stimulate innovation. Yet for adoption to increase, our industry must ensure that the experience is on par with online shopping, travel and financial experiences. In health care, this might show up as a primary care physician having real-time access to a list of all the drugs a patient is taking. That’s especially important in treating seniors, many of whom are living with multiple chronic conditions.

So what’s in store for 2019?

More companies will access data to create consumer-engaged business models that encourage competition, foster innovation, and, ultimately, disrupt and force our industry to evolve. We’ll see new and innovative products that help people with their health.

Successful innovations won’t be siloed; interoperability will help physicians make decisions supported by analytics. But technology will only take this so far. It’s up to physician and clinician offices, health plans, and government to help consumers have a real-time, detailed understanding of their health. Physicians, too, will have a truly holistic view of their patients.

Let’s continue to construct a competitive system that fosters a climate of innovation. In the end, we’ll make it easier for physicians to help their patients and for patients to help themselves.

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