Workplace Wellness with Kim Shepard

Arizona Market President

What innovations and products have you launched recently or are preparing?

It’s important for employers to build and maintain a healthy, productive workforce. As a global health service company, Cigna focuses on total health — physical and mental — and partners with employers to consult with them and design the right programs and benefits that their employees need.

Looking at some recent innovations, Cigna has added digital tools to empower customers to make healthy changes. For example, Cigna expanded its suite of behavioral health offerings in collaboration with mental health and well-being technology companies Happify Health and Prevail Health. Utilizing each company’s evidence-based digital platforms, we have helped customers better cope with stress, anxiety and depression.

When Cigna acquired Brighter, we added one of healthcare’s most innovative technology companies that has successfully worked alongside health service and dental organizations to engage patients and providers to deliver higher-value healthcare. With this capability, we’ve accelerated the development of Cigna’s mobile and desktop digital platforms, and connected customers and providers with the tools they need to increase quality of care and maximize cost-savings.

To provide a sense of what is happening in the industry, please share the challenges you are addressing to enable superior healthcare services for your clients.

Changing how people think of healthcare is an important first step toward making the healthcare system more sustainable and more affordable for everyone. With anincreased emphasis on prevention and health outcomes, Cigna is working to change the system from one that focuses on “sick” care and treatment after a person has already become ill, to one that focuses on health and preventing sickness in the first place. By changing this perspective and providing customers with the tools they need to lead healthier lives, both physically and emotionally, we can improve health and thereby manage costs.

Helping employers have a healthier workforce can also have sustainable financial benefits for both employers and individuals. And we don’t have to look nationwide to know where to start. We can make a difference right here in Arizona. For instance, according to Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly 65 percent of Arizona’s population is considered overweight or obese based on their body mass index (BMI). Obesity can lead to chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

Helping customers understand and improve physical health is just one step; there’s an emotional component, too. For some, staying on top of their physical health can be especially difficult because of life stress or behavioral health issues that are occurring at the same time.

Emotional and physical health both impact an employee’s outlook on life and their performance at work. In fact, the American Psychological Association reported in its 2016 Work and Well-Being Survey that one in three Americans report feeling chronically stressed on the job, driving 75 percent of doctor visits.

In what way(s) are you focused on helping business?

The goal of workplace wellness is productivity and controlling total medical costs. At Cigna, we know there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to healthcare. We take a consultative approach to partnering with employers to design a customized health plan that meets the unique needs of each employee population. Now together, Cigna and Express Scripts are accelerating the pace of change to the healthcare system, partnering with our clients to reconnect the fragments into a more complete picture of health — and health costs.

For example, when we consider productivity, an employer with a younger, female population may focus more on healthy pregnancy, healthy babies programs with access to one-on-one health coaching, while a trucking company with employees who sit for extended periods of time may need nutrition and exercise programs geared to drivers’ lifestyles.

Taking total medical cost trends into account, our consultative approach has proven to deliver innovative, integrated capabilities that maximize value for clients and customers. For instance, because Cigna focuses on datamining and evidenced-based medicine, our predictive modeling helps employees get ahead of their illness and avoid an extended time away from work recovering, which drives medical cost savings and strengthens workplace productivity.

About Cigna

Cigna, a global health service company, delivers choice, predictability, affordability and quality care through integrated capabilities and connected, personalized solutions that advance whole person health. Within Arizona, Cigna Medical Group is one of the Valley’s largest multi-specialty group practices with 20 healthcare centers located throughout metropolitan Phoenix. Most healthcare centers are equipped with several medical services under one roof, so patients can see their doctor, fill prescriptions and get lab work done.

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