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Jack Lord on consumer engagement

by Lloyd Davis

Jack Lord, Humana Inc.Background: CEO, Humana Inc., USA
Theme: Consumer Engagement: A Model for Shared Decision-making
A US insurer’s perspective on reform in commissioning in the UK NHS

The challenge: achieving financial balance while delivering national targets.

Commissioning ensures that the NHS provides equity, choice, information transparency, and optimal care pathways within resources allotted. Commissioning depends on assessing providers, managing them, recruiting, capability, fostering local partnerships, and ensuring a system of accountability, so that people know that the monies they raise through taxes actually go towards what they want in the health system.

We’ve made data more available and improved links between health professionals. Allows for real time multi-payer services.

In engaging consumers we take the role of a cultural anthropologist to understand people first rather than getting people to understand us. For example, an emblem of the health care system is the hospital gown - no consumer-oriented operation would create it.

I have a USB device that tracks all of my activities - it’s a sort of “frequent flyer” program that provides incentives for people for what they do for their health. What we recognize is that health is co-created, not something that doctors do to patients. We also want to make things fun - traditionally we tell people what they shouldn’t do, don’t want to hear, prod, probe them, and make them wait for hours, and never make anything fun or engaging. If we’re really going to work on these things we have to truly engage them rather than just giving them information.

We’ve also focused on using information for predictive modeling - looking for predictive signals that you’re at risk for a heart attack and seeing what we can do to prevent that.

We did work with families doing diaries and this helps us to give them back information in a useful way. Everyone gets a statement from their bank often with suggestions of how you could improve your financial health, but you don’t get something like that from the health system - we’re starting to that with our “smart summary”.

Taking this to the UK means blending the best of both worlds, understanding the local culture and what’s important to people so that you can better engage with them. At the end of the day it’s in order to positively influence health inflation.

Q: Providing information back to the patient is very interesting - how are patients reacting?
A: We’ve approached it by saying you should have equal symmetric information. One of the problems in the U.S. is that no one doctor knows what other doctors have done. We give people a card so so they can see all of the medications they’ve been prescribed. It’s made practice easier especially with over-65-year-olds who are generally on 5+ medications.

Q: How do you measure the impact?
A: Our #1 focus is compliance with medication - we’ve seen a 12% increase since we’ve provided messages as well as statements. And now we’re also thinking of financial incentives.

Q: Who will drive the uptake of wellness programs in the U.S.?
A: We the health insurers are responsible for everything. We believe that more activity means more health and so we’re trying hard to get people over 65 active and promoting fitness clubs. It’s in our interest over time to have healthy people. We’ve just started a brain gym too and that is having a positive effect too.

Q: How do we have to change the payment systems to support preventive care?
A: You have to have a vision and culture that is focused on health as opposed to illness. Our industry has developed differently so we don’t always have good systems for looking after health. It’s not a bureaucratic change as much as a cultural change. If you take an ecologist’s view, we have the levers inside of our systems but we have to work out which ones work and we have to celebrate diversity and engage with people differently accordingly - remember that consumers are people too.


2 Comments »

  Matt wrote @ March 28th, 2007 at 9:02 pm

Does Humana offer the Brain Fitness Program by Posit Science to all its members? I read a few months ago that it would be offered for free to a certain group of Humana members.

From what I can gather its a fantastic product that really works, I would love to know if its offered to all Humana members.

Thanks, Mac

[…] Jack Lord, CEO of Humana […]

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