Laying the groundwork for the health system of the future

Health insurance industry executives gathered ahead of Institute 2015, the annual meeting of America’s Health Insurance Plans, to talk through and develop solutions to some of the biggest challenges in health care today at the AHIP and Nashville Health Care Council CEO Forum. The issues their companies face are well known: The health care system is built around addressing illness, rather than promotion of wellness. Consumer engagement is believed to be a powerful tool for prevention, but best practices for fostering that connection are evolving and not fully characterized. And the keys to improving health outcomes, enhancing the care experience and building a truly sustainable health system are believed to be buried in volumes of disconnected, difficult-to-interpret data. However, executives coalesced around some key concepts that show great promise, and a Executive Leadership Summit in February promises to build on those ideas. Here’s a snapshot of the conversations and conclusions: A focus on health and the whole patient Health insurance industry leaders are working on many fronts to reshape the health care system, but a common thread runs through them all: Looking at health in the context of life. That means giving people the tools to live healthier lives as well as helping ensure they have access to fresh produce and other resources in their own neighborhoods. It means fostering community, and giving members someone to talk to, learn from and connect with. It’s about working with patients as people. Taking on the hassle maps Hassle maps are graphical representations of the trouble consumers have navigating a given system, accounting for barriers and other pain points. True innovation looks at life through the lens of the hassle map and ultimately solves it. But health insurers have access to only a portion of the health care hassle map, making it difficult to fix alone. Partnerships and alliances have been key to some of the greatest innovations of our time, and they are a mainstay of disruptors like Google and Apple. It’s time for health care to embrace this model and form external alliances that will allow them to address old problems in new ways. Give the consumer something to care about Reaching consumers isn’t rocket science when you give them something to relate to, and companies can do just that by taking a critical look at their company’s DNA. What is a company’s purpose? How does an organization serve consumers? What are its values? Answering these questions, and then building those ideas into consumer touchpoints are key to truly building a sustainable relationship with customers and a sustainable future for the business. True digital innovation prioritizes people The iPhone was just the beginning. Today, consumers are increasingly able to track and quantify every piece of their lives, but to what end? As life becomes increasingly digitized, consumers are beginning to lose control over their own data – and maybe even themselves. Transformational technology for consumers and the health care industry will recognize that people are the digital interface of the future, but devices and digitization should be a means to an end: freeing people to live happier, healthier lives, which is key to the transformation of health care.