Humana Backs ‘ChangeNow4Health’ Web Site to Spur Change

A major health insurer, Humana, is backing the latest entry in the crowded field of “health 2.0” social media -- in this case an online community -- aimed at spurring immediate action in health care reform.

“Our health care system is badly broken, but there are disconnected pockets of progress around the country,” Humana president and chief executive Michael McAllister said Monday in announcing the launch of the site, called ChangeNow4Health. “People are acting on ideas right now but don’t always know about it.” The new site is intended as a public forum for generating and exchanging ideas.

“We want to move from what I call chatter to ideas to action,” McAllister added during an online press conference from New York.

ChangeNow4Health has areas of interest for consumers, employers, providers, and health plans. It features three online forums, each moderated by a health care blogger.

Fard Johnmar, founder of health care marketing firm Envision Solutions, will moderate the “Helping Consumers Make Smarter Health Care Decisions” section, while Clive Riddle of managed care newsletter publisher MCOL, will convene discussion for “Simplifying the Business of Health Care.” Social networking guru Dmitriy Kruglyak of Trusted.MD Network is moderator of the “Preventing Sickness and Maintaining Health” forum.

“This is a massive brainstorming session,” Johnmar said. “There are no rules. There are no hierarchies here. That’s what social media is all about.”

He added, “There are no barriers and there are no attempts to change the community.”

Instead, according to Johnmar, the community will try to change the system on three levels, steps he called “learn;” “share ideas;” and “shape the future.” Within this framework, the site will serve as a platform for broad conversation about health care, promote the active exchange of ideas, and attempt to shift talk into action.

“There are no set agendas,” says Humana spokesman Tom Noland. “We are trusting in the collective expertise of the communities.”

Joining Humana as initial partners in the project are Availity, a Jacksonville, Fla.-based health care transactions clearinghouse that Humana has a stake in, Business Health Care Group, an employer purchasing coalition in the Milwaukee area, and longtime health care consultant Jacque Sokolov, currently chairman and senior partner of SSB Solutions, Scottsdale, Ariz.

“Businesses will be paying attention,” Business Health Care Group executive director Dianne Kiehl said.

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