Guest Post: Disease Management at a Crossroads

WebMD Health Services, The Forum 12 Get Moving, Get Healthy Sponsor

By Dr. Tim Moore, Chief Medical Officer, WebMD Health Services

Disease management is at a crossroads. And while we all have opinions on where to go next, it’s pretty clear that straight-ahead, business-as-usual isn’t the right choice. But as we talk about innovation and creative new models, maybe we should be thinking about who’s in the driver’s seat. We think it’s time for a new approach to condition management that puts the consumer front and center.

What does this new approach look like?

  • Health coaching: A whole-person health coach focuses on the individual, not the disease. The coach helps each person define and set goals, not just around their condition, but also around other behaviors such as eating, smoking, exercise, and managing stress associated with their condition (or life stressors in general).
  • Online and mobile technologies: Many people are comfortable using their mobile devices and computers to manage their health via mobile apps, social networking, and “game-ified” health tools. Personalized technologies can drive greater engagement and let organizations reach more people at a lower price point.
  • Powerful biometrics: Home monitoring devices make it easy for people to automatically upload their condition data, such as glucose readings, weight, or blood pressure. Along with that, relevant, personalized resources can take advantage of the “teachable moment” when people are already thinking about their health.

Going forward, we need to focus on the full continuum of population risk. We need to help people change lifestyle behaviors such as poor nutrition and smoking that can act as bridges to the “big five” disease management conditions – coronary artery disease (CAD), congestive heart failure (CHF), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, and diabetes – and that can exacerbate those conditions. If we can get people to control their condition and also improve other behaviors such as eating better, getting more exercise, and reducing stress, we find that they participate better in daily activities and live more active, healthier lives.

As the new chief medical officer at WebMD Health Services, I’m very excited about helping bring about a new, disruptive approach to condition management. We want to expand condition management beyond the small percentage of people with chronic conditions, and address the larger population whose lifestyles are driving them towards disease management. We’re developing efficient, cost-effective digital technologies to help lower costs, improve health engagement and outcomes, and drive better ROI.

Someone asked me recently if I miss practicing medicine. The truth is, in those days I could see maybe a couple hundred patients a week. Now, I can have an indirect impact on hundreds of thousands of individuals by creating programs that can help them better manage their conditions and improve their health.

I hope you’ll come visit us in the destination wellness solutions center at this year’s Forum 12 and let us show you how this works.  In the meantime, you can get more details in my recent interview: If Disease Management is Dead, Where Do We Go from Here?

Dr. Tim Moore, Chief Medical Officer, WebMD Health Services

Dr. Tim Moore serves as the chief medical officer for WebMD Health Services and is responsible for the clinical effectiveness of all WebMD health management products and services. Tim oversees WebMD initiatives, serves as a liaison with industry trade groups and clinical bodies and also leads the WebMD Health Services clinical advisory board. Tim’s career as an experienced physician executive spans more than 25 years. Most recently, Tim served as the chief medical officer at a major health plan and a healthcare solutions company.

Tim is board-certified in family medicine and is a Fellow at the American College of Physician Executives. He has a B.S. from the University of North Dakota, a M.S from the University of Wisconsin, and a M.D. from the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

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Guest Blog Post Disclaimer

CCA invites guest bloggers to post on Voice on Population Health Blog as a benefit for our members and the industry and to allow for exchange of ideas and information regarding population health.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and/or of the company the author represents and do not represent those of the Care Continuum Alliance (CCA), its members, or the industry as a whole. CCA is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this guest post article. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author(s) and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

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The Forum 12, Gateway into the Population Health Industry

Health Screening and Immunization Sponsor

Mollen, The Forum 12 Health Screening and Immunization Sponsor

By Chris Behling, President of Mollen

The first “Forum” I attended was in 2007 in Las Vegas. At the time, the event was the “DMAA Forum.”  As I think back over the past five years, I realize that much more than the name has changed.  In the last five years, the CCA name change has been accompanied by changes in the organization itself, the population health marketplace and how we think about and deliver healthcare in this country.

In 2007, the DMAA name reflected our industry at the time.  We were an industry largely focused on management of the five chronic diseases through mainly telephonic interventions with little integration into the larger healthcare ecosystem.  Wellness, coaching, mHealth, care coordination, shared decision making, and accountable care were either just buzz words or emerging concepts that were yet to hit the mainstream.

In 2012, the CCA name reflects the industry that we represent today.  An industry marked by a multitude of integrated and coordinated intervention modalities that target patients at every phase of the care continuum.   Now, concepts like wellness, coaching, mHealth, care coordination, shared decision making and accountable care are much more than words, they are concepts at the core of our industry.

As I look back, no single event embodies all of these changes more than the Forum.  Each year, the ever increasing diversity of our industry, the constituents we serve and the innovations we generate are on full display.  I have watched the exhibition floor evolve from a core group of disease management companies to a diverse group of healthcare service providers who are enabling the healthcare transformation that is underway.

Regardless of the company I am with, the Forum has always represented the single biggest opportunity to grow my business.  It is the one place each year where my partners, vendors, customers and prospects gather to share ideas, insights and uncover opportunities.  I can honestly attribute more revenue to the Forum than I can to any other single marketing initiative.

At the same time, the Forum represents my single biggest opportunity to explore and learn about where our industry is headed.  I look forward each year to returning to my company and working to implement and integrate the concepts and approaches I learn about at the Forum.

More than anything, the Forum was my gateway into the population health industry and remains an annual touchstone and cairn as I continue to explore and expand in the space.

I hope to see each of you at the Forum ’12 and urge you to lend your talents and insights as we work together to improve the health of the populations we serve.

Chris Behling is the President of Mollen, a board member and Executive Committee member at The Care Continuum Alliance.  Chris is focused on transforming healthcare delivery by extending the reach of providers and expanding access to care by providing healthcare services in the most convenient and cost effective ways possible.  Prior to joining Mollen, Chris was founder and President of Hooper Holmes Health and Wellness, the leading onsite biometric screening company in the country.  Chris received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Albion College and a Masters degree in Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School.  

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Guest Blog Post Disclaimer

CCA invites guest bloggers to post on Voice on Population Health Blog as a benefit for our members and the industry and to allow for exchange of ideas and information regarding population health.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and/or of the company the author represents and do not represent those of the Care Continuum Alliance (CCA), its members, or the industry as a whole. CCA is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this guest post article. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author(s) and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

Guest Post: UnitedHealth Group: Enabling the Consumer

UnitedHealth Group®

United Health Group is exhibiting at The Forum 12

By Patrick Keran, Senior Director of Information Technology of Innovation

The statistics can overwhelm: More than 35% of Americans are obese (CDC).  More than 38% of Americans work more than 50 hours a week (libraryspot).  On average, people spend more than $7,000 annually on health care (Forbes).  Employers are increasingly moving towards high deductible health plans for employees (USA Today).

To many consumers, health care may seem to be an uncontrollable morass.  But consumers can take control of their actions around health and wellness.  All of us can get fit.  We can find that right work-life balance.  We can make our own decisions around care.  We simply need to take action.

As my wife would say, “Can we hit the pause button, just reflect and adjust?”  With Consumer Driven Health Plans, consumers need to pause, reflect and adjust as they make health care decisions that have a more direct personal financial impact.  To make informed, personally appropriate health care decisions, people need information on the go, at the point of care, at work, 27/7 365 days a week.

That’s where UnitedHealth Group comes in. We bring you the decision-making tools, applications and services you need to make your health care decisions at any time, any place.    Tools such as:

  • Health4Me, an app that provides information on the go about locating an Urgent Care or Emergency room, getting a Medical ID card electronically, getting claims data, contacting nurselines and customer service;
  •  OptumizeMe,  an app that helps you track your fitness activities through goal-setting, set up challenges for your social network,  and connect you to Health and Wellness coaches;
  • Fitness Gaming, a way to engage in healthy activity through gaming;
  • Baby Blocks,  a web app to help Mom and Baby get the care they need during pregnancy and the first 15 months of baby’s life; and
  • myHealthcare Cost Estimator, an online tool that helps consumers price procedures performed by Doctors and Clinics .

Consumers can use all these tools to take control of their health and wellness needs.  UnitedHealth Group will highlight them at the Care Continuum Alliance’s Population Health Innovations Showcase July 11.  We look forward to seeing  you at the Innovation Showcase,

Patrick Keran, Senior Director of Information Technology of Innovation

UnitedHealth Group

Patrick Keran is a Senior Director of Information Technology of Innovation at UnitedHealth Group helping drive strategic initiatives to cut healthcare costs by enabling consumer action through various innovations.  Patrick has been in Healthcare for the last 7 years and in the overall Information Technology industry the last 20 years.

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Guest Blog Post Disclaimer

CCA invites guest bloggers to post on Voice on Population Health Blog as a benefit for our members and the industry and to allow for exchange of ideas and information regarding population health.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and/or of the company the author represents and do not represent those of the Care Continuum Alliance (CCA), its members, or the industry as a whole. CCA is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this guest post article. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author(s) and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

Guest Post: Leveraging lifestyle interventions across the population health risk continuum

HealthFitness Logo

HealthFitness is The Forum 12 Social Edge Sponsor

By Dennis Richling, M.D.

Years ago, I worked as a disease management call center medical director. That experience profoundly influenced my point of view about helping people with chronic conditions improve their health.

So when HealthFitness purchased a disease management firm in 2011, we asked ourselves a strategic question: How can we apply the lessons learned from lifestyle coaching to improve chronic care management and create an integrated, personalized approach—one that offers a true return on investment?

We started with a simple premise: Lifestyle interventions should match participants with the predominant coaching need in their lives.

I observed traditional disease management approaches that depended on rigid clinical guidelines that kept the interaction focused on managing the disease process: a nurse assessed the gaps in the treatment plan, provided education and set goals for self-management. This works in a medical model, but from our review of cases we saw that most employees with chronic disease—about 70 percent in our employer programs–need a different approach. They’ve already figured out how to manage most of their chronic disease issues. They are compliant with their medications. They’re getting the medical care they need. But their underlying lifestyle issues continue to put them at risk for poor health and high claims costs.

HealthFitness health coaches have helped thousands of individuals make positive changes in their health through lifestyle interventions. Participants work with one coach throughout their program. The coaches and participants develop a connection with one another in a trusting, supportive partnership that builds motivation for change.

And we know it works–our clients consistently experience reductions in health risks, lower claims costs and health improvements.

The most effective lifestyle intervention is much more about the participant talking than about the professional on the phone collecting information about a chronic disease.  Research shows effective lifestyle intervention can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes in people with impaired glucose tolerance, and this approach seems to be at least as effective as pharmacological interventions.[1]

But big changes, like a 20-pound weight loss, begin with small steps. What is effective? Tailor the coaching program to meet the participant’s unique set of values, strengths and interests, while leveraging current best practices for engagement. We’ve transformed our entire coaching program to integrate chronic care and lifestyle management into one seamless behavior management and lifestyle intervention.

Most employers embrace health coaching as a population health strategy because of the potential to save money—by improving productivity as well as lowering claims costs. Lifestyle interventions can work to achieve those goals across the population health continuum, leveraging coaching for those at low risk, advanced practice coaching for those effectively managing their chronic disease, and person-centered chronic condition management.

Dennis Richling, M.D.

Chief Medical and Wellness Officer HealthFitness

Dennis has a background covering clinical services, wellness product development, community education and programming, and health care policy research. He is also senior medical director for Trustmark, HealthFitness’ parent company. Dennis received his medical degree from Creighton University School of Medicine and is a fellow of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago. 


[1] Pharmacological and lifestyle interventions to prevent or delay type 2 diabetes in people with impaired glucose tolerance: systematic review and meta-analysis. Clare L Gillies, Keith R Abrams, Paul C Lambert, Nicola J Cooper, Alex J Sutton, Ron T Hsu, Kamlesh Khunti. BMJ. 2007 February 10; 334(7588): 299. Published online 2007 January 19. doi: 10.1136/bmj.39063.689375.55

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Guest Blog Post Disclaimer

CCA invites guest bloggers to post on Voice on Population Health Blog as a benefit for our members and the industry and to allow for exchange of ideas and information regarding population health.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and/or of the company the author represents and do not represent those of the Care Continuum Alliance (CCA), its members, or the industry as a whole. CCA is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this guest post article. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author(s) and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

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