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Healthways Inks Deal with Ornish

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, July 23, 2013

Programs developed by Dean Ornish, MD, for coronary artery disease, Type II diabetes, and early-stage prostate cancer are expected to extend Healthways' existing portfolio of well-being improvement programs.

Healthways, the giant wellness program and disease management company, has entered into a partnership with popular author and researcher Dean Ornish, MD, to operate and license his lifestyle management programs.

The Ornish programs for coronary artery disease, Type II diabetes, and early-stage prostate cancer are expected to complement and extend Healthways' existing portfolio of well-being improvement programs.

"The question we ask ourselves all the time is 'what can we do to help well-being improve?' If we can get that accomplished, there's a lot of economic benefit," said Ben Leedle Jr., Healthways president and CEO. He and Ornish were interviewed by phone. Healthways officials see the Ornish programs as playing a major role in achieving that economic benefit.

Ornish, founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, CA and a clinical professor of medicine at the University of California in San Francisco, has spent much of the last three decades conducting clinical research that supports how lifestyle changes, including diet, moderate aerobic exercise, stress reduction, and smoking cessation can prevent and even begin to reverse the effects of chronic conditions such as severe coronary heart disease, without drugs or surgery.

As healthcare makes the paradigm shift from volume to value and emphasizes population health, "there's a convergence of opportunities and Healthways understands them," Ornish said. "In this new environment where [providers] are paid a certain amount of money to manage care, interventions like ours are perfectly positioned."

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