“We have made health really hard,” said Ajoy Kodali, EVP of IT administration at Humana, in his keynote at the 2014 I&T Executive Summit held this week in Miami. “Things that have made our lives easy to live have also made health really hard.”
Kodali was referring to the rise of wireless communication, on-demand services, and connected devices that have permeated society in the rise of modern technology. More people are working sedentary jobs and using their free time to browse endless entertainment options from mobile devices. With the evolution of connected cars, the need for people to drive may even become a thing of the past.
Technology has improved quality of life, yes, but it has led to a decline in population health. “It has become easy for us to be lazy,” he admitted.
While it does encourage unhealthy habits, technology also creates a huge opportunity for health insurers to reverse this negative trend. We live in an experience-based economy, and carriers should use technology to create experiences that will help consumers adopt healthier lifestyles.
Humana has narrowed its focus on customer-centricity and helping its policyholders make healthier everyday choices. Its four guiding principles include knowing and helping its customers, showing that it cares, and simplifying processes.
“The consumers are empowered more than ever. They demand easy, they demand simple, and they demand to be connected to everything at all times.”
In order to meet ever-growing customer expectations, Humana has begun to utilize modern technologies to improve their experiences. Cloud technology stores personal health records, remote monitoring devices provide data that helps with patient treatment, and remote health providers address customer concerns and evaluate symptoms.
The health insurer has also strengthened its mobile strategy to improve engagement and close the gaps in patient care. Mobile technology is poised to be a game-changer in the health insurance environment, but it’s only powerful when it provides a personalized experience and ongoing customer engagement.
Customers have access to a variety of mobile apps that make healthy living both easy and rewarding. The HumanaVitality app, for example, allows them to earn points and rewards through frequent exercise, weight loss, or more hours of sleep. Users can complete a health assessment and set personalized mini-goals to help improve their well-being. As goals are completed, customers earn instant gratification through points and rewards.
Humana also offers a typical self-service transactional app, entitled MyHumana, that allows customers to access their coverage information, benefits, and claims, or to locate a pharmacy or provider. Through its RightSource app, policyholders can refill prescriptions by scanning their pill bottles and credit cards for prepayment. The insurer plans to build upon its current mobile apps and add to its offerings in the future.
Globally-known retailers such as Amazon and Starbucks have inspired some of the ongoing transformation at Humana. Many companies do not survive transformative times, he noted, but these businesses have transformed the customer experience from a simple transaction to a valuable and engaging relationship.
Over the next few years, Humana plans to continue its evolution as a health insurer, said Kodali. Old healthcare priorities will be replaced by a renewed focus on improved care, lower costs, and better population health.
Kelly Sheridan is Associate Editor at Dark Reading. She started her career in business tech journalism at Insurance & Technology and most recently reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft and business IT. Sheridan earned her BA at Villanova University. View Full Bio