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Identifying Outliers, Innovating for Simplicity.

Common themes at the 2024 In-Value-Able Conference & Expo and in the just-released white paper addressing the geographical impact on SDOH call us to look left, look right and do more with data.

Life is moving faster every day. We’re in an age of Never Normal — hyperconnected and swimming in untapped data across industries. Serial Entrepreneur and expert on radical innovation, Peter Hinssen, emphasized: “We are drowning in information but starving for knowledge."

John Naisbitt wrote this in his 1982 book, Megatrends, and Hinssen reiterated this reality at the 2024 In-Value-Able Conference and Expo. “In healthcare, innovation is not a luxury,” he said.

Hinssen is a sought-after leader in the impact of all things digital on society and business, and he delivered a keynote packed with visuals to illustrate the world of “data-ism,” where we are all in the information business. “Linear is dead,” he says. “Look left and right.” What are the outliers?
Consider this left-right perspective in your employee population. Coinciding with our annual conference was the release of our white paper, Community Insights: Key Factors that Influence Employee Health. The report provides a fresh look at factors contributing to employee health based on geographic location and associated Social Determinants of Health (SDOH). We looked left and right.

The report’s findings align with conversations circulating the In-Value-Able Expo floor and networking tables. We know the conditions in which people live, learn, work and play affect quality of life and impact health risks and outcomes. The analysis performed in partnership with UnitedHealthcare validates that location, community health and SDOH risks are driving healthcare costs and eroding outcomes. Where employees live have a direct effect on their health outcomes and life expectancy. Looking at top conditions, there is a direct correlation between community and illness.

​​How can we as employers look left and right with our benefits and wellness strategies?

Some ideas: Aside from common disease categories, identify subpopulations in your employee population to gain insight into regional patterns. This way, you can better develop and implement target clinical and communication programs. Expand your data set to include geographic, community health and SDOH factors.

Remember, linear is dead. However, a need to connect has never been more alive.

Amelia Dunlop leads a team of problem-solvers as partner for Deloitte Digital and is author of Elevating the Human Experience. Its underpinning research illustrates two priorities from employers: patience and empathy. Demonstrating the worth of your employee population was never more important, she shared during her keynote. “Eighty-four percent surveyed say they do their best work when they feel worthy,” Dunlop says, relating that worth is value before you say or do anything

As employers, how are we taking a holistic approach to evaluating what our people need to thrive so we can focus on a few data-backed priorities and make a difference? When we understand our employees and what is important to them, barriers to care can be lifted to improve access and outcomes.

Also, simplifying the way we communicate benefits so they are understandable will help increase health literacy. How will you engage your people? We need to identify how employees receive information. Is it by mobile device, computer, mailings, word-of-mouth from colleagues?

As Dr. Gerald Hautman, Chief Medical Officer at UnitedHealthcare National Accounts, pointed out during his talk on Trends in Population health, “People spend more time on Amazon than on healthcare.”

It’s true. But what does that call us to do as employers in an ever-changing healthcare benefits environment? While reacting in real-time is necessary, we also must think ahead to “the day after tomorrow,” Hinssen reminds. Rather than focusing on “yesterwork” or today’s meetings, emails and deadlines, think beyond tomorrow.

Be fluid. Be flexible. Be present for your people. And tell us what value you took away from this year’s conference. What knowledge did you gain that will help inform benefits strategies in your workplace? We look forward to hearing from you.

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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