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Apple Coined It. You Can Live It.

Albert Einstein was known to say that imagination is more important than knowledge because knowledge is limited to what we know, and imagination is the potential for what we can learn and discover.

The Nobel Prize-winning physicist known for the Theory of Relativity and E=mc² might have been a numbers guy, but his original thinking is what set him apart.

Jim Henson believed television could bring out the good in people—and so the puppeteer and filmmaker created Kermit.

Frank Lloyd Wright designed more than 1,000 structures and believed in “organic architecture,” creating spaces that harmonize with their natural surroundings. The concept was novel, and now sustainability is at the forefront.

Amelia Earhart was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and inspired generations of women to break through glass ceilings.

Jerry Seinfeld was a regular guy growing up in a New York City suburb when he found out by watching T.V. that you could get paid to be funny. His stand-up comedy and long-running T.V. series “about nothing” were unlike anything the networks had been airing.

What do these people who made history have in common? They Think Different.

Apple captured what it meant to be someone who looks at the world through a different lens and makes a significant impact in its ‘Think Different’ campaign. Apple used the slogan from 1997 to 2002, and after reading Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography, I began thinking about how employers can think differently about health and wellness benefits in the New Year. How we can open our perspectives and “think different” to achieve better results and drive more impact. How we can push to explore fresh angles and inspire new ideas.

This year, let’s “think different.” Step outside of the day-to-day bustle. Borrow some quiet moments to get out of your head and think about what circumstances or challenges employees are wrestling with that could impact their health. Get inside your organization and culture, and drill down into the data to find new stories.  And remember: Every day, people can accomplish amazing things by simply taking a different approach.

Here are seven ideas.
#1 – Obesity remains a top cost driver for many organizations and employees continue to struggle with weight after working from home, staying in, and experiencing more stress, loneliness, and isolation. How can you take an approach outside the traditional challenges to address the goals your employees have to improve their health, whether that’s shedding some pounds or simply becoming more active to improve energy and focus?

#2 – Consider incorporating your own life experiences and needs into your benefits review and evaluation process.  Many times, we show up with the organization’s goals in mind – support retention, cut benefit costs, etc.  We leave behind those daily life happenings that prevent us from achieving our own health.  Bringing that information forward may help you open a new line of engagement with employees having the same experiences.

#3 – Add an employee or two from different departments to participate on the committee that evaluates employee benefits.  Hear what they are thinking about and what impacts their ability to achieve and maintain health.

#4 – Consider adding an overall, location, or individual health goal into the organization’s annual goals.  This creates an opportunity to make employee and organizational health a top priority, hear employee needs differently, and develop health champions.

#5 – As you analyze data and work to better understand your employee population and common conditions, are you addressing the importance of seeking care at the appropriate place, whether that’s virtual, a primary care physician, specialist, urgent care, or behavioral health professional? Getting the right care at the right place can improve outcomes, reduce cost, and maximize the value of the benefits you offer.

#6 – As you review plans, be sure to look at total cost of care by primary condition and recognize that discounts don’t necessarily mean you’re getting a “deal.” In healthcare, quality and cost do not correlate.

#7 – We tend to fall into an 80/20 mentality of allocating 80% of resources to high-utilization employees and dependents. Consider how this thinking could end up increasing the high-claimant population long-term.  Can your benefits and clinical programs be designed to prevent employees from becoming high claimants while supporting current high claimants? 

Looking for more ways to think differently about your year ahead? Plan to attend the 2022 IN-VALUE-ABLE Conference and Expo, where you can explore unbiased, forward-thinking, open-sourced information from experts across industries. That includes learning how to transform your benefits program now and into the future.

It’s a new year—and it’s time to think differently. Share how you’re going to look at health and wellness through a fresh lens. We’d love to hear from you.

About Health Action Council 
Health Action Council is a not-for-profit 501(c)(6) organization representing mid-and large-size employers that enhance human and economic health through thought leadership, innovative services, and collaboration. It provides value to its members by facilitating projects that improve the quality and moderate the cost of healthcare purchased by its members for their employees, dependents, and retirees. Health Action Council also collaborates with key stakeholders – health plans, physicians, hospitals, and the pharmaceutical industry – to improve the quality and efficiency of healthcare in the community.

Patty Starr bio image

About the author

Patty Starr

Patty Starr is president and CEO of Health Action Council and is responsible for driving the strategic direction of the organization--build stronger, healthier communities where business can thrive. 

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