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Healthways Puts Focus on Providers

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, May 8, 2012

Mike Farris, Chief Executive Officer of Navvis Healthways, says working with health systems will enable the company to maintain engagement with patients over a longer period than it can by working with health plans, whose membership can shift from year to year.

He explains that a successful economic model to improve the well being of a population requires sustained engagement with that population over several years.

Farris notes that while members may come and go from a health plan, they tend to maintain relationships with the same doctor and hospital facilities. "We can achieve a greater longitudinal effect on the well being of that patient if we're not subject to that (health plan) churn."

The move to the provider side makes sense for Healthways says Brooks O'Neil, a Minneapolis-based analyst with Dougherty & Company. He says that with healthcare reform and the growth in accountable care organizations, providers recognize the need to take a more holistic approach to patient care management and represent a significant growth market for Franklin, TN-based Healthways.

O'Neil notes that in recent years, Healthways has faced increased competition on the wellness front from large health plans such as Aetna and UnitedHealthcare, which have developed their own internal population health programs or acquired established players in the market.

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