Humana Website is a Wiki for Healthcare Reform

It was just in my last post that I mentioned Humana for their innovative cell phone technology designed to help people lose weight, but again this week Humana has hit the innovation radar with an announcement about the launch of a new website designed to get people communicating about ways to improve the quality and efficiency of the health care system and decrease the cost.

It really is a neat Web 2.0 (or is that Health 2.0) kind of idea. Create an online forum where all the stakeholders: individuals, employers, providers, and health plans can post ideas for improving the health care system. (Note that the site has not assigned the government a role in helping to solve this problem.) The website is called ChangeNow4Health and describes itself as being “a broad, grassroots coalition committed to improving the nation’s health care system through immediate action.” This “web-based coalition” is built on the social networking idea of communities of members who will address specific areas of improvement though blogs and online posts.

Acting as a sort of wiki for health care reform, ChangeNow4Health is intended to create the work space for interested parties to join and help create the solutions and the ultimate direction of the campaign. The concept is that site members will join “communities” where they can learn from each other and be part of coming up with what the site calls “realistic solutions” to the nation’s health care crisis.

Initially, the communities will focus on three areas of interest:

  1. Helping Consumers Make Smarter Health Care Decisions – Ensuring that consumers have the tools, the information, and the desire to take responsibility for their own health and to use health care resources wisely.
  2. Simplifying the Business of Health Care – Streamlining health care’s administrative and financial functions so that the system works more cost-effectively.
  3. Preventing Sickness and Maintaining Health – Changing individual behavior and clinical practice so that the system more effectively prevents disease from ruining health and prosperity.

Each of these three communities offers registered members the chance to post ideas and to comment on blogs posted for group. There is also a chance from everyone to participate in the writing of a book entitled “50 Ideas for Changing Health Today,” by posting ideas.

In addition to the user-generated site content, ChangeNow4Health has news feeds and articles describing some of the issues facing the health care system as well as examples of success stories.

I have participated in past efforts to bring together the stakeholders to solve the health care crisis. Most of these well-intentioned efforts have failed because they just required too much time and effort on the part of the participants who had to give up their day-to-day business to attend meetings. Maybe a web-based forum will have the ability to overcome some of these barriers and produce some real solutions. At any rate, give Mike McCallister and his team at Humana credit for trying something new.

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