Looking at health from all angles helps create solutions that work for each individual.
When we put a person at the center of his or her own care and look at all dimensions of health — not just traditional medical factors — we see a more complete picture.
To bring that picture into focus for all people, Optum is working collaboratively to provide the services and care they need, even beyond medical care; guide them along their personalized care journey; and work to achieve health equality.
Graphic of overlaping circles with a person in the center.
The outer ring lists medical care, genetics and biology, social circumstances, physical environment and individual behavior.
The next ring lists government, hospitals, primary care, specialties, insurance companies and pharmacies.
The ring closest to the person lists community, financial health, behavioral health, support groups, family and education.OR
More than medical care
Keeping people healthy takes more than medical care
About 80% of a person’s health happens outside the clinic or hospital — healthy behaviors, socioeconomic and environmental factors play a larger role in determining an individual’s health. To improve health outcomes, reduce inequities and lower costs, it is critical to invest more heavily into resources, programs and pursuits that positively impact non-medical determinants of health.
Correlations between chronic disease incidence and determinants of health (DOH) found in inaugural Optum survey.
- The number of health determinant factors increases the prevalence of behavioral health conditions (no DOH = 6%; one DOH = 14%; two DOH = 26%).
- People without access to enough food or safe water are 5.2x more likely to have chronic kidney disease.
*Results of an online Optum survey of 10,270 U.S. adults in Q3 2019, conducted by Forrester ResearchOR
Community health workers address all dimensions of health, one person at a time
They may not be seen as typical health staff, but Optum community health workers who provide outreach, health education and social supports can bring profound change to the well-being of a community and individuals.
With their in-depth knowledge of a community’s culture, communication styles and resources, it is a community health worker’s priority to connect people with a wide range of non-medical services and address issues that can undermine clinical care.
These workers help people better manage their own health, leading to fewer emergency room visits and hospitalizations, better medication adherence and reduced health disparities.
Stable housing is a first step to wellness
When people do not have safe, affordable housing, their health often suffers grave consequences.
Those who are homeless or housing insecure are at a higher risk of substance abuse, violence and even death. With stable housing, hospitalizations and visits to the emergency room can be reduced, and people find it easier to manage ongoing medical conditions.
Optum, along with its sister and parent companies, has spent about $400 million to date on affordable housing projects nationwide, which may also help lower health care costs.
A study found that providing housing and supportive services to chronically homeless people in New York saved $8,260 per person annually as a result of decreased psychiatric hospitalizations.
Personalization is at the heart of people-centered care
Treating people as people — not just patients — enables a more holistic perspective into the factors impacting their health and their care. Using that lens gives a clearer picture of the pathways needed to improve individuals’ experience with their health care.
Case managers wholly support personal health journeys
Learn how an Optum case manager helped Madeleine navigate the complexities, benefits and challenges of her gender confirmation journey.
Proactive preventive care comes to seniors’ homes
With the additional health challenges age brings, many older adults can benefit from an at-home health visit. HouseCalls is a yearly evaluation that can proactively address a range of health issues.
In addition to conducting a physical, mental and behavioral exam, providers also get insight into the person’s environment. What is their living space like? Are there notable hazards or needs? Do they have the social support necessary for overall well-being?
With this comprehensive review, Optum clinicians can offer educational materials and resources tailored to individual health care needs, provide referrals to further resources and communicate with primary care providers for continuing care.
Personalized, integrated pharmacy services help underserved communities
People living with serious and persistent mental illness, substance use disorder or other complex conditions need extra support to cope with their illnesses and stay on treatment plans.
When pharmacy services are provided within a community mental health clinic, pharmacy and clinic staff can work together to offer individualized care. Genoa Healthcare, an OptumRx subsidiary, offers this kind of integrated care through services such as medication therapy management, comprehensive medication reviews, personalized health care handbooks and refill reminder calls.
This specialized attention drives measurable results, increasing medication adherence and lowering behavioral health-related hospitalizations and emergency room visits.
Achieving equitable care begins by seeing disparities
An individual’s gender and ethnicity, place of birth, education, employment status and income can all contribute not only to his or her health but also to the kind of care he or she receives. Creating equality in health status among different populations can have a significant impact on individuals, on society and on the total cost of care.
Women are underserved in health care
Women have disproportionately high rates of chronic disease, misdiagnosis, complications and negative experiences for many conditions. And yearly per capita health care spending is 1.3 times more for women than men.
These inequities are driven by biological, socioeconomic and systemic drivers:
- Biological — Health care treatment is often not tailored to account for gender and sex differences in disease manifestation, treatment and response. For example, abnormal lab results might go undetected as most tests are not calibrated for women.
- Socioeconomic — Women are more likely to delay routine care, possibly because of lower access to care, more time spent caring for others or poor past experiences.
- Systemic — Providers often lack training in women’s health and in gender-based differences. Women are also underrepresented in clinical studies, consumer research, product design and health care leadership.
Changes in areas like cardiovascular disease, depression, maternal health and caregiver burden could have high impact in gender health equality.
- White patients are 1.5x more likely to receive pain medication than black patients with the same condition.
- Maternal death rates vary significantly by race (White = .013%; Native American = .030%; Black = .041%).
- Women are 30% more likely than men to be sent home from the ER with misdiagnosed stroke symptoms.
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