Disrupting Health Care Through Technology

Photo: eranicle and HuHu / shutterstock and Jacqueline Zaccor for LinkedIn

Photo: eranicle and HuHu / shutterstock and Jacqueline Zaccor for LinkedIn

In 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 topics range from the powerful potential of technology to the issue of loneliness. His latest, Disrupting Health Care Through Technology, is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

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Bruce Broussard

“How can the health care industry use innovative technologies to make a positive impact in health?”

This question – in one variation or another – is one I’m asked quite a bit when I meet with employers, customers, clinicians or government officials. Technology is seen as an innovative and disruptive force that can transform the way we deliver care.

My response has been to say that the industry is starting to make progress, but we’ve only begun to unlock the transformational and disruptive power that technology can have on health care. I point to how the emergence of wearable technologies, combined with the evolution of electronic health records, is reflective of our initial progress, but are still the first steps of the journey of a thousand miles.

If we want to be successful, connectivity, the exchange/sharing of information and the combination of big data and analytics must serve as the foundation for this transformation to occur.

The Data Factor
When you look at data, there are four key elements that serve as the foundation: data collection, data analysis, data insights and action based on the insight.

Data collection, which includes a range of data like electronic medical records (EMRs), lab tests, sugar levels for people with diabetes, heart monitors and other mobile devices, is essential for a productive data analysis. Through the use of algorithms and other means, the collected data is analyzed. Based on this data analysis, the providers are able to determine an insight from the data that can be used to address a gap-in-care. Since the provider has a more holistic view of the person, the provider can recommend a specific action – at a moment of influence – where this personalized data insight can make a difference in the health of the consumer.

It’s not just the impact that data will have on the provider. The way health care is financed is already being influenced by the importance of data. For example, take the evolution from the fee-for-service reimbursement payment model – paying providers on a service basis – to value-based payments, where providers are reimbursed for the overall health of the patients that they serve.

Given all that’s required to effectively manage a health population, data analytics is essential because it helps providers take a customized approach to each individual’s health supported by a more holistic understanding of the person’s health.

As we improve the timeliness and level, our ability to personalize the moment of influence will become robust. This is the true impact of increasing data, not just simply counting steps.

A New Age in Technology
Health care will be transformed – and ultimately disrupted – through the widespread adoption of data and other technologies. It’s starting to happen before our eyes. Google and Novartis have teamed up to bring smart contact lenses to consumers. IBM is using the power of the cloud to disrupt health care.

Apple’s HealthKit is designed to provide consumers with a way to view all their health data from their devices in one place. This enables Apple to learn more about the health of the consumer and create an app ecosystem that will provide real value. Apple’s app ecosystem may also provide the company with a view into the health of these consumers that providers don’t have. This view will require an expertise in analytics; Apple, Google and others are already starting to describe themselves as analytics companies in the health realm as opposed to focusing on products and services.

And many companies that most of us have not heard of today will also disrupt health care through technology.

So what does this mean? The short-term is about devices today that you’re wearing on your arm now like a Garmin; the long-term prospect is about devices that actually go inside your arm. It may sound like science fiction – and it’s a little unsettling in some ways – but we’re nearly there.

For example, Ada Poon, a professor from Stanford, created a fascinating technology that enables power to be transferred “deep inside the human body.” Professor Poon and his team built “an electronic device smaller than a grain of rice that acts as a pacemaker” that can be powered by a power source outside the body. While the article noted that this platform has not yet been tested in people, Poon believes these new devices could “create new ways to treat illness and alleviate pain.”

An insightful book, “The Second Machine Age,” by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, looks at Google’s self-driving car, which navigates the open road by processing reams of data instantaneously. If the 100-plus-year-old automobile can be revolutionized by technology, so can health care.

These technological advances will help foster an innovative climate across the entire spectrum of health. From the conventional yearly checkup to remote patient monitoring, technology will not only serve the consumer but make it easier for providers to serve their patients. For example, iRobot and InTouch Health are using the untapped power of robotics to help doctors remotely interact with their hospital patients through telemedicine robots.

Technology will also disrupt access points in health care. For many decades, you had the doctor’s office, the hospital or an urgent care facility as your main place to go when you got sick. Today, you can speak to a doctor at a telemedicine kiosk, through your tablet, iPhone or some other mobile device. These access points will only continue to expand as technology is applied into health care.

For example, look at the power of telemedicine. A consumer might go visit their provider, who is able to take a picture of a mole or rash they have a concern with and send it directly to the dermatologist without the consumer having to see the dermatologist.

Making it Work for Health Care
With any disruptive technology we apply to health care, we must make sure, first and foremost, that it directly or indirectly leads to healthier people. The personalization of the moments of influence combined with increasing resources and more convenient access will change the landscape of health care.

For example, being able to identify a person with diabetes sugar level is increasing due to a smart insulin pump, than proactively reaching out to them via a telemedicine visit to coach or assist them in moderating their sugar levels. After normalizing the sugar levels, and realizing the cause was from a certain food type, you are able to provide further education on nutrition through an online nutrition class with a group of virtual friends.

We all know that spending too much time on our social channels can lessen our productivity, but a diabetes forum where people share best practices on how to combat the disease is using technology to make people healthier.

And that’s the main point. Technology for the sake of technology is not enough. Technological disruption must make it easier for people to exercise, eat healthy, and support a proper work/life balance.

Leveraging technology will require the health care industry to face several challenges that will be instrumental to success:

  • The health workforce must become highly skilled in technology – Consumers are much more sophisticated due to their wide embrace of technology, from how they manage their financial portfolios to what they buy online, and health care needs to catch up. The health care workforce must not only expand its technical skill set to capitalize on disruptions caused by technology but also improve its understanding of the consumer, who is getting even smarter about their health through technology. As more advanced technology is integrated into care delivery models and the cloud becomes more commonly used, care professionals of all levels must receive the training they need to maximize new technologies that help them better serve their patients.
  •  Providers must expand skills sets beyond the clinical – Given how science is being digitized, factors like emotional intelligence and communication skills will become more crucial as technology alters the role of the provider. It’s not just using technology; it’s being able to find patterns in the data generated by technology. Identifying an action from the data analysis that can lead to a better health outcome is a must.
  •  Partnerships with providers will offer more robust use of technology – Technology and analytics requires significant expertise and resources, therefore, leading providers should seek vendors and partners that advance their clinical model. Traditionally, billing systems and EMR technology has been the common solution. The future partners will include examples like sophisticated consumer and clinical analytic models, interoperability connections, population health management, remote monitoring technology or consumer engaging mobile applications.
  •  Machines must evolve from transactions to relationship building – It’s time to expand beyond devices that count steps, calories and monitoring blood pressure. Brynjolfsson and McAfee astutely address the importance of evolving from transactions to relationship building with the consumer and taking the complexity to the back of the system so a simpler, more meaningful relationship will rise up, enabling the individual to better manage their health.
  • Integration is essential for better health – Take the hundreds of millions of health care claims that are processed each year, which yield a significant amount of individual health and lifestyle information. As these systems evolve and collect more and more health data, the integration of these systems will be critical in identifying a moment of influence where technology can make a true difference in the health of the consumer. It’s not just the way the systems collect the data; it’s the integration of these systems that must take place.

Where Do We Go From Here?
Evolutions in technology will continue to disrupt care models and help the care industry transform itself in a consumer-driven model.

Most importantly, disruptive and innovative technologies must support the health aspirations of the consumers who use it, for the 35-year-old-mother of two training for a marathon to the 75-year-old grandfather who wants to attend his granddaughter’s wedding.

Leveraging the power of technology to transform health care through data analytics and other means will go beyond the care industry. Businesses, consumers and others will have a unique opportunity to improve their health through a new wave of innovation and disruption that has transformed countless industries for the better.

For my industry, the challenges we face – and will solve – will enable us to deliver a new era in care.

Nonprofits in 3 cities to win $350,000 grant: Vote for your favorite

Maddie Gilliland, 4, gets ready to go for a ride on Stella at the New Heights Therapy Center in Folsom, Louisiana. The center is a past Humana Communities Benefit grant recipient. You can learn how it used the grant to change lives by clicking on links provided at the end of the article below. (Photo by Ellen Nason)

Maddie Gilliland gets ready to go for a ride on Stella at the New Heights Therapy Center in Folsom, Louisiana. The center is a past Humana Communities Benefit grant recipient. To learn how it used the grant to change lives, click on links provided at the end of the article below. (Photo by Ellen Nason)

The Humana Communities Benefit program, funded by the Humana Foundation, took a giant leap forward this year by more than tripling its grant amount to $350,000 and asking the public to help choose the winning nonprofit organization in each of three cities: Chicago, San Antonio and Tampa.

Online voting for the winner of Humana’s signature grant is open from Monday, August 11 through Friday, August 22 at HumanaHCBVote.com. Each of three finalists in all three cities has created short videos and essays to explain why they believe they are the most deserving of the grant. After your vote has been cast, a message will appear confirming the vote and requesting that you help spread the word and encourage others to vote by “sharing” it on Facebook and Twitter. You can cast a vote for your favorite once each day.

This portion of the judging process will account for 20 percent of the nonprofit’s score during the final judging round – the Community Leader Judging – that will occur in late August and early September.

The Humana Foundation has awarded more than $8 million to nonprofits in 11 communities nationwide since launching the Humana Communities Benefit program in Chicago in 2003. Check out the videos and stories below for examples of how some of the past grant recipients have used the award to transform their organization and to change lives.

Videos:

Stories:

For more information about the Humana Communities Benefit program visit Humana.com/HCB.

Getting fit, giving back becomes par for the course at golf tournaments

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While Rory McIlroy may have walked off the course as champion of the recent World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational, many fans and charities came away winners as well.

The four-day Professional Golf Association (PGA) event drew many of the world’s top golfers to the Firestone Country Club in Akron, Ohio, and was broadcast on CBS. A partnership with Humana and Charity Miles also made it the latest in a series of golf tournaments drawing attention to the benefits of getting fit and giving back to others.
Charity Miles is a free GPS-enabled smartphone app that allows users to earn money for a favorite charity by walking, running or biking. Humana makes a donation to his or her preferred charity for each mile logged.

Abbey Konchan, who works for the PGA, stopped by the Humana Walkit tent in Akron, where she downloaded the Charity Miles app. She said she planned to use it as she walked the course during the event and later on the treadmill and Stairmaster. “It’s easy to download,” said Konchan as she thumbed through the list of more than 25 national partner charities, which includes the Wounded Warrior Project, Nature Conservancy and Stand Up to Cancer. She selected the Iron Men Foundation, which provides scholarships for the children of slain and disabled soldiers.  “I think it’s really awesome what Humana is doing,” she said.

Professional golfer Bo Van Pelt, who is sponsored by Humana on the PGA TOUR, said the Charity Miles program fits in with Humana’s mission to promote lifelong well-being as well as changing attitudes about fitness in the world of golf.  Van Pelt said when he first joined the tour in 1999, few professional golfers spent time in the fitness tents that are often set up during tournaments, but today, “Working out is part of a golfer’s regimen.”

Amateur golfers also need to exercise and eat right for the sake of their health – and their game. “Being in better shape helps the range of motion on your swing, plus it improves your strength, focus, flexibility,” said Van Pelt. “And with Charity Miles, you can feel good about helping yourself and a nonprofit at the same time.”

Humana offered additional incentives to download and use the app, particularly for area residents attending the tournament. For every mile that users of the app walked or jogged during the Bridgestone Invitational, Humana agreed to donate 25 cents to the Akron Children’s Hospital, which last year saw 779,000 children and has a policy of treating all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. “We’re thrilled to have this partnership with Humana,” said Heather Wuensch, the hospital’s Director of Community Benefits, Advocacy and Outreach.

Humana Patriots Outpost

James McClellan, an active-duty Air Force colonel stationed at the Pentagon, and his wife, Lisa, watched the tournament from the Humana Patriots Outpost.

James McClellan, an active-duty Air Force colonel stationed at the Pentagon, and his wife, Lisa, watched the tournament from the Humana Patriots Outpost.

In addition to promoting health and charitable giving, Humana sponsored a special tent set up for U.S. veterans, current members of the Armed Forces and their guests who were attending the tournament. The Humana Patriots Outpost offered a clear view of the course’s 14th hole, where they got up-close looks at golfing stars like McIlroy, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods. (Tiger Woods pars No.14 at Bridgestone: Click here to see video.)

James McClellan, an active-duty Air Force colonel stationed at the Pentagon and a golf fan who grew up in Akron, said he and his wife were enjoying watching the action from the Humana Patriots Outpost. “We have a perfect view of the 14th hole. We’re in the shade. Nice breeze. This is exactly what you’re looking for when you want to see a golf tournament.” Humana provided the tent in cooperation with Birdies for the Brave, which is a PGA TOUR-supported national military outreach initiative dedicated to honoring members of the Armed Forces and their families. McClellan said most don’t tend to ask for gestures of appreciation for their service to the nation, nonetheless, “It’s always appreciated.”

Related articles and videos:

 

Team Up 4 Health: Power of community is changing lives

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After winning a Team Up 4 Health scavenger hunt in a park in Pineville, Kentucky, Kelly Wilder was all smiles when she sat down to tell the story of her most valuable discovery: She holds the key to a happier and healthier life. She has rediscovered her own potential and the confidence to make positive behavioral changes that are already showing results.

Wilder, 33, jokingly estimates that, in the last few years, she probably had been walking a total of 30 feet during a day, but in recent weeks, she has completed several challenging hikes and is training to run a 5K race this fall.

“I reached the top of the mountain and couldn’t believe what I had just done,” she says about a recent 10-mile hike in Bell County, Kentucky. “It made me realize that I can do far more than I thought – more than I ever dreamed. Now I know what is possible.”

Wilder, who joined Team Up 4 Health about six weeks ago, credits the program for her newfound confidence and motivation. The program, sponsored by Humana, is implemented by global nonprofit Microclinic International (MCI), and local organizations in southeastern Kentucky. It began as a pilot program in 2011 in Bell County and expanded to Rockcastle County in 2014, in part because of the success of the pilot.

How it works

The concept and goal are simple: Empowering small groups of people – family members, neighbors, friends, church groups – to motivate and influence their own community members to make small behavioral changes in order to live longer, healthier lives. The program, which spans generations, takes health seriously but includes several fun elements, such as the scavenger hunt and forming teams that give themselves names like The Toads, The Fabulous 4, The Golden Girls, The Scorpions, and Movers and Shakers.

The small teams or “microclinics” often share meals or schedule physical activities throughout the week to help each other keep on track with a healthier lifestyle and to hold each other accountable for sticking to it. Once a week, the teams meet with a facilitator from a local health organization for classes. They compare notes, cheer each other on, compete for prizes, and learn about nutrition, exercise and ways to cope with – or prevent – chronic diseases.

Making a difference

Can small groups of two to six participants working on small changes really prevent chronic disease and create lasting, positive change for an entire community?

The numbers show that it is possible: Overall, 95 percent of the 750 initial pilot participants improved in at least one of the following measures: weight, body mass index, waist circumference, HDL (“good”) cholesterol, HbA1c percentage and systolic blood pressure. Additional data from the two-year pilot is available at the Team Up 4 Health website. (Click here to access the report.)

But the best evidence that it can work is listening to the participants, like Wilder, who see and feel the improvements in their own lives. During recent interviews in Bell and Rockcastle counties, other current and former program participants talked about social, emotional and physical changes that are having a positive impact on their total well-being. They talked about the value of feeling they are part of a team: motivating each other, holding each other accountable, inspiring each other and learning to live healthier while having fun with family and friends. They say they have learned that healthier behavior is contagious and are excited to see it spread through their own families and their communities.

They are awakening to the full potential for lifelong well-being in the natural beauty surrounding their communities, awakening to the full potential within themselves.

Ronnie Bullock (Mt. Vernon, Kentucky)

Vicki Cox, left, and Lorinda Fletcher, center, join Ronnie Bullock after a Team Up 4 Health class in Mt. Vernon, Kentucky. The yellow object in front of Ronnie, who hs lost more than 10 pounds, is used in class to demonstrate what five pounds of fat looks and feels like. (Photo by Lisa Huber)

Vicki Cox, left, and Lorinda Fletcher, center, join Ronnie Bullock after a Team Up 4 Health class in Mt. Vernon, Kentucky. The yellow object in front of Ronnie, who hs lost more than 10 pounds, is used in class to demonstrate what five pounds of fat looks and feels like. (Photo by Lisa Huber)

Ronnie Bullock has faced serious health challenges in recent years: stroke, two heart attacks and the loss of a leg. He is 48. Despite the enormous hurdles, Bullock was determined to use the health challenges as motivation to change his life. Since joining the Rockcastle County Team Up 4 Health program a few weeks ago, Bullock has already lost more than 10 pounds and is having fun in the process.

Bullock said the Team Up 4 Health classes have taught him a lot about nutrition and about the importance of being active even if confined to a wheelchair. He said he lost the weight by drastically reducing his intake of soft drinks, eating more vegetables, reducing portion sizes at all meals and learning to do exercises, such as yoga and tai chi, in his chair.

The camaraderie of the teams and the local program facilitator, Lorinda Fletcher, has inspired him to push himself further than he thought possible and has lifted his spirits.

“You have to stay active, be around other people and have fun – no matter what,” he said.

David Smith and Christina Stanfield (Corbin, Kentucky)

David Smith, left, and Christina Stanfield, Team Up 4 Health participants, said they have discovered that healthier behaviors are contagious. (Photo by Lisa Huber)

David Smith, left, and Christina Stanfield, Team Up 4 Health participants, said they have discovered that healthier behaviors are contagious. (Photo by Lisa Huber)

David Smith and Christina Stanfield are part of a Team Up 4 Health microclinic that formed a few weeks ago in Corbin. Both are already reporting positive health changes.

Smith said he had not had a routine checkup with his doctor for years but thought he was healthy and in pretty good shape for a 65-year-old until an initial biometric screening for the Team Up 4 Health program revealed some potentially serious issues.

The retired post office worker said the program has demonstrated, in simple terms, that making small lifestyle changes can become healthful habits that last a lifetime – and may increase the length of his own life.

He has lost weight and has more energy since he began eating better and becoming more active. He said it has been gradual and easy changes such as eating fruits and berries for snacks rather than his usual chocolate and pie, and watching less TV and taking more walks.

“It’s about moderation and making small changes that have made a big difference in how I feel,” Smith said. “I think it is going to change my life for the better and for the long run.”

His teammate, Christina Stanfield, agreed that the emphasis on moderation and simple changes has made it easier to make healthier living a lifelong habit and not a short-term goal. She also said better health has been contagious and is spreading to all generations of her family.

“My son’s health has improved, and my grandmother thinks the program is fabulous,” Stanfield said.

Virginia Giles and Willene Black (Bell County, Kentucky)

Virginia Giles, left, Willene Black, center, and Janice Ridings, who participated in the Team Up 4 Health pilot program in Bell County, said they have learned how easy it is to make good changes when you have the support of family and community. (Photo by Lisa Huber)

Virginia Giles, left, Willene Black, center, and Janice Ridings, who participated in the Team Up 4 Health pilot program in Bell County, said they have learned how easy it is to make good changes when you have the support of family and community. (Photo by Lisa Huber)

Virginia Giles and Willene Black participated in the initial pilot program in Bell County. They both began to feel better and learn how easy it is to make good changes. Both say they continue to get support for healthier living from within the community.

“The small changes are important,” said Giles, giving the example of realizing how much hidden sugar she was consuming in a day. She said one of her favorite classes during the program was when the group visited a local grocery store and learned to read nutrition labels.

“I considered myself healthy, but you don’t realize the full impact until you really begin to look at labels and find that some ‘heart-healthy’ labeled foods are much too high in sodium,” she said. “And a wheat bread label doesn’t mean the bread is really whole grain.”

Black attributes much of the program’s success to the fact that participants feel the support of their families and the community as a whole and that it is a simple, step-by-step process that makes the changes easy.

“I’ve learned a lot,” Black said. “It’s opened a whole new world. I didn’t realize how easy it would be to get into a healthier way of living and stay with it. It was like a lifesaver for me.”

Lakin Daniels (Local program facilitator from Bell County Health Department)

Lakin Daniels, facilitator for the Team Up 4 Health program in Bell County, Kentucky, said the participants motivate her to continue working to stay healthy. (Photo by Lisa Huber)

Lakin Daniels, facilitator for the Team Up 4 Health program in Bell County, Kentucky, said the participants motivate her to continue working to stay healthy. (Photo by Lisa Huber)

“They motivate me to stay healthy as much as I motivate them,” said Lakin Daniels, a Team Up 4 Health program facilitator in Bell County.

Daniels, who began her own journey to better health several years ago, said she has been inspired by the program since attending her first meeting.

“I remember one participant whose initial biometric screening revealed a dangerously high HbA1c (blood sugar) level,” said Daniels. “The participant had no idea it was that high and began to cry as the reality and seriousness of the situation set in.

“As the participant walked away that day, it really hit me how important this program could be,” Daniels said. “I don’t want to say we are saving lives, but maybe … what would have happened if that person had not learned about the serious situation and made an appointment to see a doctor? We are making a difference. Even if it is a small difference, it is going to pay off in the long run.”

HumanaVitality Cheer Squad app supports runners in Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon

Rock N Roll race 2013

HumanaVitality® will offer support and motivation for the more than 20,000 runners participating in the Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon with Cheer Squad. The app and website allow families and friends to cheer on runners from anywhere in the world by entering messages of inspiration that will appear on a giant screen during mile 10 of the race.

HumanaVitality is a presenting sponsor of the 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon taking place on July 20. It starts and finishes in Grant Park, and features live bands performing at every mile along the scenic downtown course.

To send a cheer, runners’ friends and families can:

  • Visit the Cheer Squad app on Facebook or HumanaVitalityCheerSquad.com.
  • Type in the first and last name of the runner they want to support.
  • Submit a personalized cheer that is 30 characters or less.

Runners can create personalized links to share with family and friends so they can easily send cheers through the app. All cheers must be submitted by 5 p.m. CDT on Saturday, July 19.

The Rock ‘n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon is celebrating its sixth anniversary in the Windy City. Two 5K races will also be hosted during the weekend – one on Saturday, July 19, and the other in conjunction with the half marathon on Sunday, July 20

For more information, visit RunRocknRoll.com. To send a runner a message of support, visit the Cheer Squad at HumanaVitalityCheerSquad.com. Follow @RunRocknRoll and @HumanaVitality on Twitter for more information on the upcoming race.

Taste of Chicago 2014: Eating healthy, exercising and giving back at annual food fest

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The annual Taste of Chicago food festival might not seem the ideal venue to put the spotlight on healthy living, but a growing list of healthier dishes and the opportunity to give back to a charity while walking, biking and running during the five-day event has helped make it the perfect destination for anyone who loves food, fun and fitness.

The Humana Healthier Choices program returned to the Taste of Chicago for the seventh consecutive year, with 52 healthy foods from 29 Chicago restaurants – the largest number of menu items in the program’s history – representing 44 percent of all vendors at this year’s festival.

The Humana Healthier Choices, identified by a panel of local physicians, are indicated by a green apple on the menu boards at participating restaurant booths and listed in the Humana Healthier Choices Passport Guide. Free copies of the Passport Guide can be found at the Humana tent, located on Columbus Drive between Jackson Boulevard and the Buckingham Fountain, and can be downloaded for free at the Taste of Chicago website and via facebook.com/TheTasteOfChicago. A full list of the healthier choice food items, which even includes desserts under 320 calories, can be found by clicking here.

The addition this year of the philanthropic exercise app, Charity Miles, has helped make a visit to the annual food fest a guilt-free experience. Taste-goers can download the free app from iTunes or Google Play Store and wander the Taste of Chicago while giving back to their favorite charity. Humana will donate 25 cents for each mile a participate bikes, walks or runs to the national charity of the user’s choice.

Humana’s contribution will be open to anyone who logs into the app in the Chicago metropolitan area until the close of the 2014 Taste of Chicago on Sunday, July 13. Users are also encouraged to share their progress during the festival through social media using #TasteOfChi and #HumanaWalkIt.

Newsweek ranks Humana among greenest companies in U.S.

Green Environment

Humana has been ranked among America’s greenest companies by Newsweek magazine for its commitment to environmental sustainability. As No. 69 on Newsweek’s rankings, Humana was the highest ranked health insurer and No. 10 out of all health care companies on the 500-company list.

Humana’s focus on environmental sustainability – dubbed Healthy Planet – includes our acknowledgement of the effects of climate change on the health and well-being of its members. In addition, Humana is committed to the following:

  • Minimizing its environmental footprint
  • Adopting environmental and green standards in its facilities
  • Increasing its waste diversion rate from 13 percent to 40 percent by the end of 2015
  •  Improving its supply chain sustainability
  • Engaging its associates in sustainability efforts

For operating in an environmentally conscious way, Humana has not only been recognized by Newsweek, but by others, including being listed on the prestigious Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index as the leader among health care companies. In addition, Humana received a ranking of 83 out of 100 on the FTSE4Good Index, which measures the performance of companies that meet globally recognized corporate responsibility standards. Humana’s score on the Carbon Disclosure Project, an independent nonprofit organization with the largest database of corporate climate change information in the world, rose to 83 percent, up from 80 percent in 2013.

To learn more about Humana’s Healthy People, Healthy Planet, and Healthy Performance efforts, check out the 2012-2013 Humana Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Game: A victory for the human spirit

BJ Ganem and Orie Mullen photo

The Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team came out on top in a recent charity flag football played against former National Football League stars in Tampa, Florida, but the final score was not the primary focus for any of the athletes or spectators.

The game, sponsored by Humana, is the latest in a series played by the Wounded Warrior Amputee Football Team (WWAFT) to raise awareness and support for the nation’s veterans and their families. The team is comprised of injured veterans who, despite using prosthetic devices, are overcoming challenges to not only engage in everyday activities but are competing in athletic events against legendary athletes – and winning.

BJ Ganem, a 37-year-old Reedsburg, Wisconsin, resident, and a co-captain of the WWAFT, said playing with the NFL stars is a dream come true. But, more importantly, he said he hopes the games inspire anyone facing a challenge in life and bring hope to the communities where the games are played.

“It’s a lot of fun, and to be able to say you held your own against NFL greats is uplifting and rewarding,” said Ganem, a former Marine who lost his lower left leg in a roadside bombing in November 2004 while serving in Iraq. “It’s good to get out there and mix it up and show not only what I can still do but what other guys and gals can still do – even when playing a game as intricate as football. I hope it’s inspirational to others even if they are facing challenges that may not be as severe. I hope it gives them a little bit of oomph to get out there and have fun and try to be more active and healthy.”

Ganem has experienced his own moments of inspiration as a member of the team.

“There is that ‘ah’ moment in every game, especially when you have new guys,” including some who have just received a prosthetic device, he said. “They are initially unsure of what they are capable of, and you can see a bit of trepidation, but then there is joy on their faces when they begin running routes and scoring touchdowns. You can see a change instantly. They did it. It’s an accomplishment… a feeling of YES!”

Ganem, who works for the nonprofit, Semper Fi Fund, and is the father of three, also recounted a moment that had a powerful personal impact following his first WWAFT game, which was held in Green Bay.

“My son’s high school invited me to speak about that game and all of the other stuff I’ve done,” he said. “It was rewarding to see the pride in my son’s eyes and to spread a little inspiration to a younger generation by showing that it takes a lot to kill the human spirit.”

For more information about the WWAFT and how to get involved or donate, please visit http://woundedwarrioramputeefootballteam.org/.

The game in Tampa was the third Wounded Warrior charity football game sponsored by Humana. Humana also presented a $100,000 donation to the WWAFT during pre-game ceremonies in Tampa.

KaBOOM!, Humana Foundation unveil 2014 Playful City USA honorees

Playful City

The national nonprofit KaBOOM!, in partnership with the Humana Foundation, on Tuesday unveiled the 2014 Playful City USA honorees, 212 cities at the forefront of a “playability” movement. These cities, which recognize that an investment in play results in happier and healthier communities, are taking bold, innovative steps to ensure all children have easy access to a safe area to stay active and have fun.

Some of the cities and their family-focused playful initiatives are:

  • Washington, D.C.: Launched Play DC initiative to renovate and redefine all of the city’s playgrounds as community spaces where its underserved youth can use playful activity to reduce toxic stress.
  • Chicago: Created goal of ensuring every child living in the city is within a seven-minute walk of a park or playground
  • Missoula, Montana: Launching fun, creative programs, such as designating annual Play Day, a KidsFest celebration and youth summer camps.
  • San Antonio: Parks program turns elementary and middle school properties into playspaces outside school hours

More information about Playful City USA and a full list of 2014 honorees can be found by visiting www.playfulcityusa.org.

“We’re excited about our journey with KaBOOM! and we appreciate the shared values that Humana, the Humana Foundation and the KaBOOM! organization can rally around,” said Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard. “Making it easy for families to play, be healthy and thrive together is a part of Humana’s dream, and it’s a commitment that all of us at Humana enjoy sharing with KaBOOM!.”

A shared passion and commitment to help create happier, healthier communities led Humana and KaBOOM! to form a three-year partnership in 2011 that will result in 50 new playgrounds being built around the country. The Humana Foundation is also the lead sponsor of KaBOOM!’s Playful City USA Initiative.

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Humana Foundation relaunches charitable-giving program

Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard announced the relaunch of the signature Humana Communities Benefit charitable giving program during a news conference in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, April 28, 2014. (Photo by Scott Iskowitz)

Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard announced the relaunch of the signature Humana Communities Benefit charitable giving program during a news conference in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Monday, April 28, 2014. (Photo by Scott Iskowitz)

Humana and the Humana Foundation have announced a relaunch of their signature Humana Communities Benefit charitable-giving program, which will now award multi-year grants totaling $350,000 to eligible nonprofits in Tampa Bay, Chicago and San Antonio.

The new structure of the program will award eligible nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations a three-year grant, enabling the winning nonprofits to receive $200,000 the first year; $100,000 the second year; and $50,000 in the final year. Previously, the program annually awarded one-time $100,000 grants to nonprofits.

Also new to this year’s program is the launch of an online community vote. Finalists will post a 60-second video message on the Humana Communities Benefit website, describing the objectives and goals of their grant request. Community members will be able to vote for their favorite proposal.

“This new approach with Humana Communities Benefit is a natural evolution for the program as Humana and the Humana Foundation work to improve the health of the communities we serve nationwide,” said Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard, who announced the new program at an April 28 news conference in St. Petersburg, Fla. “We have added several new features to the program, including the online vote, which provides an opportunity for each community to have a stake in deciding the organization in each region that is awarded our $350,000 grant.”

Eligible nonprofit organizations in the following counties may submit their applications at humana.com/hcb, from April 28 until June 30, 2014:

  • Humana Communities Benefit in Tampa Bay – Hillsborough, Hernando, Pasco and Pinellas counties
  • Humana Communities Benefit in Chicago – Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kankakee, Lake and McHenry counties
  • Humana Communities Benefit in San Antonio – Atascosa, Bandera, Bexar, Comal, Guadalupe, Kendall, Medina and Wilson counties

Virginia Kelly Judd, Executive Director of the Humana Foundation, said it was important to select communities where Humana has deep roots. Tampa Bay is where Humana has its largest associate population outside of the company’s corporate headquarters in Louisville, Ky. The Humana Communities Benefit grant began in Chicago in 2003. And Humana has had a significant presence for more than three decades in San Antonio. Grant recipients in all three communities will be named in September.

Nonprofits interested in applying can learn more about the application process from former winners on the HCB Mentor page (humana.com/hcbmentor), which is another new feature for 2014. Organizations focused on promoting healthy behaviors and healthy relationships will be considered. Grant recipients will use the funding to create new programs or enhance ongoing activities that have a positive, transformational impact on the organization and the community.

The Humana Foundation charitable program has awarded more than $8 million to nonprofits in 11 communities nationwide since starting in 2003. Watch the videos below to learn more about two of the previous winners and how they used grants to make a difference in their communities.

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