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How can you support employees with human-centric health care solutions in a changed world?

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Improving the care continuum

Learn about challenges plaguing the health care system and gain insights into what you can do as an employer to mitigate rising costs, improve the consumer experience and address the behavioral health crisis impacting many across the nation.

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[ Elisa Reliford ]

Hi, I'm Elisa Reliford, the Senior Vice President for Employer Market Sales at Optum. I'm joined today by Patrick Conway, the CEO of Optum Care Solutions. We're going to talk about the work that Optum is doing to improve the care continuum for employers and employees alike. Patrick, welcome.

[ Patrick Conway]

Thank you. It's great to be here.

[ Elisa Reliford ]

In the United States, more than half of healthcare coverage is provided by employers and the benefit of a healthier, more productive workforce cannot be overstated. But there are a number of challenges plaguing the system. Patrick, when it comes to the challenges employers are facing, what trends are you seeing in the market?

[ Patrick Conway]

We're seeing three major trends in the employer market. The first is the rising healthcare costs. Where you are seeing costs go up more than 30-fold over the last four decades. So what employers are saying is they want healthcare that's more affordable, both for themselves and their employees. And 86% of those costs are for chronic conditions.

The second major trend is wanting a more simplified and better experience so that we provide the digital tools, the information, the data, so people can find the right care at the right time in a simplified way, easy to use and navigate.

The third major trend is mental and behavioral health — where four out of 10 people are reporting symptoms of depression and anxiety. So how do we provide mental and behavioral health care? How do we support mental health and wellbeing for employees?

[ Elisa Reliford ]

What's Optum doing right now to address these challenges for employers?

[ Patrick Conway]

Optum’s working on three major things to help employers. One is data and analytics to support the healthcare you need for your employees. So how do we use advanced analytics and AI to find the right care for the right person at the right time? So that's number one.

Second is the delivery of care. Optum is one of the largest care delivery organizations in the U. S. We have over 55,000 physicians, primary care and specialty delivering care each and every day. We deliver care in the home for physical, mental, and social needs. We have care for everything from behavioral health care to highly specialized care. So, care delivery.

The last is mental and behavioral health care where Optum is providing that care, both virtually and in person — for example, therapist for depression or anxiety. I've experienced the mental health system as a person, as a family member and as a practicing physician. And I can tell you delivering this care in an integrated manner for physical health and mental health is essential.

[ Elisa Reliford ]

What advice would you give to employers who are looking to support their employees’ health and wellbeing, and today's changing work environments,

[ Patrick Conway]

First, you’re buying health for your employees. So, focus on the health outcomes, the total cost of care and the experience, but buy health when you're buying health care.

Second, mental health and wellbeing. There's increasing evidence that it's critical to your employee productivity and the success of your organization. So, invest in mental health and wellbeing.

Third is virtual care. People expect in today's environment that if they need care and they can't get into an office, they can get that care via telehealth or digital means for their physical, mental, and social needs. So how do we provide virtual care 24 7?

[ Elisa Reliford ]

Thank you for being here today and sharing your incredible insights. Employers are certainly navigating a number of complex obstacles and Optum is proud to be part of the solution, building the next generation health system together.

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