How can the whole health system treat the whole person?
Now more than ever, disparities and fragmentation across the health system are resulting in lack of access to the right care. Additionally, it is estimated that 80% of an individual's health is determined outside of a care facility*. As a result, it's necessary to consider elements beyond medical care that impact health to understand the specific needs of each person.
By aligning individual care preferences with mental and behavioral solutions — while also understanding socioeconomic and environmental factors — it's possible to provide seamless, comprehensive experiences that place people at the center of their care and fundamentally drive better health for everyone.
Graphic of five concentric circles representing whole-person health with a person in the center. Rotating clockwise, the first circle lists genetics and biology, the second circle lists behavioral and mental health, the third lists socioeconomic factors, the fourth lists pharmacy and the fifth lists physical environment.OR
Envisioning how it all comes together
Addressing gaps in care through the convergence of data sharing, emerging technology and a deeper focus on community outreach leads us to uncover solutions that improve a person’s whole health and well-being.
One example is our continued focus on better understanding the interplay between social determinants of health (SDOH) data and health outcomes. Traditionally, health system constituents have relied on their own data. However, layering de-identified data from beyond their walls paints a more complete picture of patient populations and helps organizations know where and how to invest resources to keep people healthy. Combining data with artificial intelligence-enabled analytics and tools can help drive a more comprehensive approach to care when it's needed most.
Infographic of data streams inside and outside the walls of health care organizations show how connecting these sources provides a more complete picture of an individual’s health. Connecting housing, transportation, access to food and zip code data to clinical information about behavioral health, medical illnesses, use of care and conditions drives care improvements across the health care system.
Another example is when medical care, public health and social support systems work in harmony to drastically improve outcomes. We’re working diligently to elevate the conversation around inequities by expanding COVID-19 testing access and coordination in underserved communities, and it has proved paramount to ensuring everyone has a fair opportunity to be as healthy as possible.
Whole-person care in action
By focusing on the complete picture in health care, combined with innovations in telemedicine, digital applications and care coordination, we aim to deliver comprehensive care with the whole individual in mind.
Designing a better member experience
With pharmacy being the biggest touch point in health care, OptumRx prioritized its member experience and evolved it to consider the whole person — creating better outcomes, lowering costs and improving the overall health care system.
Improving access to behavioral health care
Optimizing whole-person health requires integrating innovative behavioral health solutions that address traditional gaps in care. We focus on technology that delivers better outcomes, an improved member experience and lower costs.
“Whole-person care takes into account a patient’s mental, behavioral, spiritual and physical health while recognizing that each of us is an individual, with our own goals and our own preferences for seeking care at different places in our health care journey. When we address all of these factors, that’s when we can deliver on the promise of whole-person care.”
Wyatt Decker, MD
*Magnan, S. 2017. Social Determinants of Health 101 for Health Care: Five Plus Five. NAM Perspectives. Discussion Paper, National Academy of Medicine, Washington, DC. https://doi.org/10.31478/201710c
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