In a recent progress report detailing population health management progress, health insurer Humana Inc. said it screened more than 2.6 million members for social determinants of health (SDOH) in 2019.
This week, the company unveiled its “2020 Bold Goal Progress Report,” which details the company’s progress in its population health strategy launched in 2015, aimed to improve the health of the communities it serves by 20 percent by 2020.
Humana’s Bold Goal is broadly focused on addressing the needs of the whole person by co-creating solutions to address social determinants and the health-related social needs for its members and communities, including helping members access to healthy food, connect socially and address housing needs, according to company officials. Humana is continuing to expand the Bold Goal into new communities, and the company has grown from its original seven Bold Goal communities in 2015 to 16 designated Bold Goal communities.
Humana uses the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “Healthy Days” assessment tool to measure the mentally and physically unhealthy days of individuals over a 30-day period, covering Humana member populations through lines of business such as Medicare Advantage, Group and Medicaid.
Some specific findings from the 2020 Bold Goal Progress Report include:
- Humana screened more than 2.6 million Humana members for social determinants of health in 2019. Solid partnerships with physician practices, community organizations and other business partners enabled Humana to screen its members for social needs. Humana found that each member screened had an average of 3.5 health-related social needs (e.g. food insecurity, socially isolated or lonely), and it is why the company employs a personalized approach to the care of each member. The number of screenings far surpassed the insurer’s goal of 1 million in 2019.
- For the first time since Humana began benchmarking, Humana Medicare Advantage members across all markets improved their healthy days. These members experienced 816,000 more healthy days than they would have otherwise experienced had the company and its partners not collaborated on projects to target and improve health outcomes.
- Many Humana Medicare Advantage members in original Bold Goal communities have fewer unhealthy days. Medicare Advantage members who reside in Tampa had 3.7 percent fewer unhealthy days, and members who reside in New Orleans had 2.2 percent fewer Unhealthy Days since 2015.
- Helping Medicare Advantage members living with multiple chronic conditions is leading to more healthy days. Members with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), coronary artery disease, depression, and congestive heart failure are experiencing an increase in healthy days compared to the year prior.
Humana executives contend it’s clear that the health-related social needs support that economically disadvantaged members are receiving is helping to maintain and even improve their health. Embedded in this progress in a nearly 4 percent improvement in healthy days among low-income members. Humana Chief Medical Officer William Shrank, M.D., who leads the Office of Health Affairs and Advocacy, argues that helping these members will also require empowering providers with the means to access social risk data in electronic health records (EHRs).
“While the movement toward interoperability is gaining momentum, physicians need a detailed understanding of their patients, and that comes when they have data that identifies unhealthy behaviors,” Shrank said. “Humana’s holistic approach to addressing whole-person health, combined with our strong provider partnerships, enabled us to reduce the number of unhealthy days for Medicare Advantage members living with chronic conditions, and this is an essential part of human care.”