Monday, January 27, 2014

Healthy babies are worth the wait

As part of the 75th anniversary celebration of the March of Dimes, UnitedHealthcare is a proud partner of the campaign to educate the public about the importance of the last few weeks of pregnancy titled, “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait.”  While some women may need to have their babies early for medical reasons, physicians and families schedule far too many births before the full gestation period of 40 weeks for non-medical reasons. 

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) classifies a baby as “full term” at 37 weeks, but advises against elective deliveries before 39 weeks.  A UnitedHealthcare study, which surveyed 650 insured, first-time mothers from various geographic, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds, found that more than 90% of respondents thought that it was safe to deliver a baby before 39 weeks.

But those last weeks of pregnancy count.  In the last few weeks, babies are still developing important body functions, and babies born before 39 weeks are at increased risk of complications such as respiratory distress, jaundice, infection, low blood sugar, extra days in the hospital and even death.

The March of Dimes wants babies to get at least 39 weeks of gestation. For pregnant women, the March of Dimes offers information on why it is important for labor to begin on its own and not to schedule delivery by convenience.  It also encourages health care professionals to participate in quality improvement initiatives aimed at eliminating early elective deliveries.

“Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait” is an important component of the March of Dimes Prematurity Campaign, a nationwide effort to address the growing problem of premature birth, the leading cause of newborn death and a major cause of serious health problems. Premature births cost society billions of dollars every year. 

As an expansion of the “Healthy Babies are Worth the Wait Campaign, the March of Dimes has created the “CineMama” iPhone app.  Women can create a time-lapse video of their pregnancy – and get health tips along the way – through this free interactive app.    Time-lapse pregnancy slideshows and videos are a trend among expectant parents as a way of creating a digital keepsake of their pregnancy to share with loved ones. 

“CineMama” allows expecting moms to take and upload their photos to the web, easily turn the still pictures into video, and share it all through social media, such as Facebook and Twitter.  “CineMama” will prompt women to record the ups and downs of their pregnancy, as well as important milestones in a diary that can be easily shared.

You can find more information at weeks here or by calling 610-945-6050. You should also check with your insurance company. UnitedHealthcare has a Healthy Pregnancy program that connects our members who are expectant mothers with the care and education they need. The program is at no additional cost to the member and provides 24-hour* toll-free access to experienced maternity nurses and other resources.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Day of service trumps day-off

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, anyone can serve and everyone should serve.  So when thousands of volunteers, including twenty-two UnitedHealthcare employees, family and friends showed up to participate in the 19th annual Martin Luther King Day of Service hosted by Girard College in Philadelphia, I was extremely pleased. 

Many activities for this year’s Day of Service were designed to pay tribute to the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court's 1954 ruling in Brown v. Board of Education, the decision that barred racial segregation in public schools.  So it seemed appropriated that UnitedHealthcare’s service activity took place at the Martha Washington elementary school in west Philadelphia where the UHC team took on the task changing the color of the schools lunchroom from a drab light blue to a vibrant yellow. 

For the last several years, the Greater Philadelphia Martin Luther King Day of Service has been the largest event in the country celebrating Dr. King by doing good works. UnitedHealthcare has been a part of the day’s activities for the past ten years. In fact, this year, we helped with a total of 1,700 King Day projects throughout Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware. 

UnitedHealthcare’s mission to help people live healthier lives can be seen in all aspects of our organization.  But I am especially proud of our employees who turned their day-off into a day of service.

Thank you UnitedHealthcare team! 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Getting to Know You

At UnitedHealthcare, we spend a good deal of time listening to and connecting with our customers because we want to deliver integrated product offerings when, where and how our customers want to be reached.  So it makes perfect sense to us (although I get many confused looks when I tell others) that we should kick off the year at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics show in Las Vegas this week.

In addition to showcasing myEasyBook, an online healthcare shopping service, UnitedHealthcare representatives at the electronics show are demonstrating how our health benefits, services and technologies help to simplify the consumer health care experience by making helpful, practical information more accessible and affordable through personal technology devices such as smart phones, video game consoles and television programming.

CES attendees who visit the UnitedHealthcare booth can interact with a wide range of innovative health tools, including:

Virtual Diabetes Prevention Program: The NOT ME Virtual Diabetes Prevention Program (VDPP) is the online version of the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), an evidence-based group lifestyle change program that helps people at high risk for developing type 2 diabetes prevent or delay the disease through modest weight loss via healthy eating, increased physical activity and other lifestyle changes. The VDPP was recently named an International CES Innovations 2014 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree in the “Technology for a Better World” category.

DanceDanceRevolution Classroom Edition: A collaboration with Konami is bringing DanceDanceRevolution (DDR) Classroom Edition, to another school. Konami is the wildly popular dance game that has shown to encourage physical activity among adults and children. The participating school will use the game to track its impact on students’ health, well-being and exercise habits. The collaboration last year brought DDR Classroom Edition to schools in Longwood, Fla.; Gainesville, Ga.; and Fresno, Texas.

Renew (formerly NOVU): Renew inspires and rewards UnitedHealthcare plan participants for taking care of their health and wellness by giving them points toward healthy products, raffles and local deals.

WellView: WellView automatically aggregates disparate data including electronic medical records from physicians, personal health records, health care expenses, health plan balances and more, all in one place. WellView also offers helpful tools such as online appointment scheduling, provider search and a symptom checker to help improve the experience for consumers and get them to the right resource sooner.

UnitedHealthcare’s technology and innovative collaborations showcased at CES make it easier and more fun for people to become active participants in managing their health.  And it’s a pretty good way for consumers to get to know more about us.

Happy New Year!