Creating Better Health By Connecting Communities

posted by Roy A. Beveridge, M.D.

on June 7, 2016

To impact population health, we must move beyond the walls of a doctor’s office and directly into communities. Humana is acting as a catalyst in several communities, sharing data we’ve collected that identifies prevalent health conditions and barriers to health. We are convening local stakeholders, collaborating to improve health and measuring progress toward a bold goal of improving the health of the communities we serve 20 percent by 2020.

Our measurement approach is the Healthy Days survey developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s a simple and effective measure to gauge health throughout the country. The four-question survey asks individuals how many days each month they feel physically and mentally unhealthy.

Our initial Healthy Days investigation reveals a stark truth: As a nation, Americans are unhealthy. We found the number of unhealthy days individuals reported correlates with overall health. People with diabetes reported 34 percent more unhealthy days, on average, than those without it according to our Bold Goal 2016 Progress Report. And for every five unhealthy days reported, hospital admissions increase by 52 per 1,000 members.

Here are a few examples of how we’re coming together with physician and business leaders, nonprofits, civic organizations, health agencies and academia to create a movement that leads to better health.

San Antonio

In San Antonio we sponsored a Clinical Town Hall that brought together physicians and community leaders to lead a dialogue about the health needs of that community. Their feedback launched programs centered on three areas: health literacy, nutrition and healthy behaviors. Together, we increased the number of members in San Antonio who took health assessments by 23 percent and directed members to programs appropriate for them, like our Omada Health program that digitally connects at-risk individuals with peers and health coaches to achieve their health goals.


In Louisville we worked with more than 60 organizations, including the mayor’s office, to create the Louisville Health Advisory Committee, a group dedicated to combating the community’s most pressing conditions of diabetes, asthma and mental health. With insight from the committee, we created diabetes programs that have resulted in a 15 percent increase in statin therapy.

Tampa Bay

Through collaboration with Tampa Bay community leaders, we learned one of the barriers to health is food insecurity. Humana partnered with Feeding Tampa Bay to address the hunger issues that affect 700,000 Tampa Bay residents.

Next Steps on the Journey

A population’s health won’t change overnight. Communities cannot improve unless we deeply understand these communities and their unique needs.

We’re still in the early stages of our work. Using what we’ve learned in San Antonio, Louisville and Tampa Bay, we’re expanding to more cities around the United States. As we gather more data and insights on Healthy Days, we’ll continue to share it. The more we know, the better equipped we are to alter behavior and produce long-term, positive change.

Roy A. Beveridge, M.D., is Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at Humana.

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