The Well-Being Journal

Five Game Changing Trends in Healthcare

Jennifer Rudloff

While we can’t predict the future, we think that it’s always important to keep a watchful eye out for trends in our industry. The field of healthcare is one that constantly evolves, as new implications constantly arise for doctors, patients, and well-being support providers like us.

Below is a list of several major emerging trends in healthcare that we think could be truly ground breaking. In our opinion, these trends – for which we’ve begun to see the seedlings – could be total game-changers, for Healthways and for the industry at large.

Here are five patterns in the healthcare industry that we think have the potential to stick around, at least for the time being:

  1. Health plan preparation for state insurance exchange implementation, which is projected to cause significant disruption of individual and small group fully insured businesses;
  2. Change from a volume-based to a value-based payment system, a change which comes with the associated shift of financial responsibility (and thus, risk) for cost and quality from health plans to providers;
  3. Increasing payer requests for comprehensive, integrated solutions, as more insurance clients aim to address longitudinal health risks and care needs for total populations;
  4. Adoption of population health management on a global scale, by both foreign government and foreign private sector health organizations; and
  5. Recognition by large employers of the expanded value of improved well-being, to reduce medical cost and improve individual and company productivity and performance.

This is just the beginning of changes we expect to see in the industry; momentum has already begun to pick up, and we’re excited to see how the space evolves. Particularly due to the upcoming 2012 presidential elections, our healthcare industry may be in its most malleable state ever – and this may hold direct or indirect impact upon our well-being as a country.

So, what do you think? How have you witnessed these industry trends in your own healthcare experiences? What are some other major changes in healthcare that you see on the horizon? Let us know by leaving comments below or on our Facebook page!

Topics: Healthcare Health Healthways Trends in Healthcare Health Plan & Health System

Workforce Well-Being: Blue Collar vs White Collar

Jennifer Rudloff

John Harris, Chief Well-Being Officer at Healthways, talks about our findings on well-being as they relates to blue collar and white collar workers. In this video, you'll learn more about the challenges impacting the well-being of your people and will gain insights into how to better engage your population based on their needs.

[yframe url='http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXwZ7Ix3TjQ']

Topics: Well-Being John Harris Workplace Well-Being Engagement Business Performance Wellness Life Evaluation Healthways Wellness Program

Connecting Consumer Voice

Jennifer Rudloff

Man on BenchIf you were hoping to develop a program that would appeal to the interests of mac users, it’s unlikely that you’d turn to PC users for advice. The same principles apply with well-being improvement solutions: In order to develop engaging healthcare solutions we must turn to our end users and understand their attitudes and motivations. Enter Healthways Well-Being Voice™, a newly created, on-line community of over 500 working and retired healthcare consumers who express their opinions, ideas, and attitudes, describing behaviors and motivations for improving their overall health and wellness among other topics:

  • Employer benefit program structure, incentives, and rewards
  • The role of and importance of communications
  • Perceptions of existing and potential products, solutions or services as well as reactions to marketing and web content ideas

The research community fosters collaborative input from individuals at varying health risk levels who deal with any of a number of chronic conditions in areas such as emotional/behavioral health, diabetic/metabolic and cardiovascular conditions, as well as those dealing with overweight and/or obesity issues. This is one of the first on-line social communities in which all aspects of Well-Being are potentially discussed, providing rich qualitative understanding to consumers needs.

Recently, we’ve gathered and applied insights in the following areas:

  • Listening to consumer definitions of Well-Being in their own words, members discuss the important balance between physical and emotional health. People describe details to us about their views of happiness, prosperity and the important role of family, friends and enjoying the activities of their choice.
  • Members share personal stories, sometimes coupled with photos submitted from times in their lives when they took significant measures to improve their health and they detail of the factors that influenced them. This is providing Healthways added consumer perspectives about behavioral change, incentive insights and engagement that we apply into our mission to enhance Well-Being Improvement Solutions for our clients and guide the development of new markets.
  • Nearly all of our members are mentioning challenges in diet, adhering to medication, exercise regularity and for some, smoking cessation. We’re getting wonderful stories from community members. One member noted that in the years following his military service, he realized he had a tendency to adopt a sedentary lifestyle. Once he returned to a more vigorous regiment of exercise, he found many health risks diminishing and his overall health improved. Another described how just a single flight of stairs resulted in shortness of breath which drove his own story of change. And another women described how the early loss of a parent resulted in personal motivation to slowly yet steadily move towards a healthier diet for her and her family.

Healthways certainly benefits from this community as we apply direct consumer voice and opinion into our suite of engaging solutions for total population health. But we’re not the only beneficiaries. The community members themselves are finding the interactions and introspections rewarding. As one commented, “It's great to find others on here where we share so much in common!” There’s no better way to learn than to learn from one another.

Topics: Market Research Workplace Well-Being Well-Being Voice Business Performance Community Needs Assessment Healthways Well-Being Voice Well-Being Improvement Solutions Healthways Wellness Program Online Community Consumers

Healthways Garden: Planting Seeds for Well-Being

Jennifer Rudloff

After spending months talking and dreaming of putting together an edible garden at Healthways Headquarters we finally pulled the trigger. In February we gathered landscapers and gardeners together with colleagues from our facilities department, our property management company, and the onsite café to talk about what we wanted out of the garden. (I am Wendi Micheletto, Healthways colleague and Davidson County Master Gardener.)

Once the landscaper came up with a design for the garden, we took it to the property owner for her sign off. Once we got her approval it didn’t take us very long to get excited about the garden! In early May, the landscape team cut out the garden and created a border out of heavy pavers. Knowing that everyone doesn’t have the space to create his or her own in ground garden at home, we wanted to provide another option. To show colleagues what they can grow in a container, we added a large pot to our courtyard for vegetables. In Mid-May I went with our Chef and another colleague to area stores and nursery’s to pick out plants. We choose a wide variety of herbs and a few summer vegetables. Shortly after purchasing the plants, we announced to the building we were planting and invited colleagues to come out and help. We had a few colleagues come and help us get everything in the ground. Though to be honest, with the hot summer sun and steamy Tennessee weather it has been a bit of a challenge to get help, though I expect this will change for our fall season. Once the plants were in the ground we mulched in an effort to avoid the weeds and keep in the moisture. (As an aside, it took us a few weeks to get the mulch in the garden, and during that time it got very weedy).

Then came the maintenance. Since colleagues are encouraged to wear workout attire and do something active on Wednesdays (dubbed "Workout Wednesdays"), we scheduled time in the garden every Wednesday morning. It’s nice to begin the day with fresh air and good company and seeing what has happened throughout the week with both our plant and people friends. While we work, it gives us a chance to chat about what’s going both personally and professionally, providing ample opportunities to build community and increase collaboration.

It has been a very good season for our inaugural garden. Though we grew mostly herbs along side just a few vegetable, we have harvested and delivered more than 210lbs of produce that our chef has been able to use daily in meals prepared in the café. While there are only a couple ‘regulars’ at the weekly weeding and harvesting, there are others that drop in when they have time. Even some of our remote colleagues from out of town have dropped in to help while in town.

Since we’re based in the south, we are able to have three full garden seasons. We’re beginning to plan for the fall season, some greens, beets and turnips perhaps. We also plan on doing some additional outreach to colleagues and offering some of those brown thumbed folks some classes so they can begin to reap the benefits gardening has to offer. In months to come, we hope to get a commitment from each department to adopt and care for the garden for a month. It’s a great way to plant the seeds of teamwork, see the rewards, be active, and build a tighter sense of community between colleagues.

Topics: Healthy Living Well-Being Workplace Well-Being Engagement Health Community Healthways Garden