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    Humana showcases new wellness program at IdeaFestival
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    IdeaFestival melds the minds of entrepreneurs, thought leaders, inventors, and problem solvers. Put plainly, healthcare is a problem, so no better place than this festival of fresh ideas for Humana and HumanaVitality to showcase their wellness program as the leading and presenting sponsors of the event, respectively. I had the opportunity to sit down with some of the big wigs of both operations including Humana’s Vice President of Innovation (how cool is that title?), Shankar Ram and HumanaVitality’s Chief of Consumer Experience, Erik Eaker to discuss both company’s overall vision of well-being as well as their presence at this year’s IdeaFestival.

    In general, HumanaVitality partners with Humana to motivate patients to adopt healthier living. The overarching goals are, as Eaker put it, “improved health outcomes, better health literacy, and reducing healthcare costs.” Their wellness program incentivizes members to get and to stay healthy. Patients begin by completing an online health assessment. As part of this collection of baseline information, members are assigned a “Vitality Age” that contrasts their chronological age based on lifestyle patterns and health numbers (think cholesterol, blood pressure and the like). This is a lot like Dr. Oz’s RealAge Calculator that was popularized several years back. The companies hope that uncovering this “Vitality Age” will be a sort of wakeup call for members who score “older” than their chrono age and an incentive for continued wellness for those patients who may still be getting carded well into their years. And unlike RealAge, members who turn back the clock at HumanaVitality are rewarded with more than just compliments and better check-ups.

    Once the assessment is complete, patients set goals to map out a path away from sickness toward wellness. Along their journey, patients can enlist the help of health coaches and a variety of online mediums from interactive videos to chat rooms. Ram is clear about that fact that “it’s not technology for technology sake but to help our members live long and live well, which is part of our dream saying, “’How do we help our members achieve lifelong well-being?’”

    This summer, HumanaVitality had 1.5 million carrots chasers on board with the performance-based wellness plan, so signs point to this being a success. Want to see why people like it so much? Stop by the HumanaVitality Wellness Challenge at IF for a simulated experience of what it’s like to be a HumanaVitality Member. Pick up a free pedometer and track your steps as part of their “WalkIt” station. Check your BMI and get free nutrition tips, and play some interactive games to help you gauge your own health and wellness. Humana members also have the chance to fill out an online health assessment at the Wellness Challenge. If weighing in doesn’t appeal to you, go anyway---you could win rewards with the points you earn in the Welllness Challenge. Who doesn’t love free stuff?

    Ram will also participate in a panel discussion, The Future of Health and Longevity, at 8am tomorrow for all-access pass holders, sponsors, and presenters to discuss the complexities and inherent changes of healthcare here and abroad.

    Can’t make it? Members and Nonmembers alike can follow what’s going on at IdeaFest and beyond by joining them on Facebook and Twitter under “HumanaVitality.”

    Photo: Shutterstock/Ryan R. Fox.

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    Melinda Hardin's picture

    About Melinda Hardin

    Melinda is a wellness mentor who is passionate about educating and inspiring people along their journey towards whole health through nutritional counseling. Her specialty is making clean eating realistic for individuals and families by crafting personal plans that account for busy schedules, grocery budgets, and food preferences. She even cleans out your pantry! Her husband Ben and their two girls, Celia and Annie Styles, live in Shelbyville. For more scoop on her business, check out

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