Assessing United Healthcare’s Strategic Plans and Readiness for the Future

The healthcare landscape has transformed over the years, especially with the service providers incorporating technology and management models that are customer-centric to improve patients’ experience through quality products and services. With America’s aging population projected to increase significantly over the coming decades due to the aging of baby boomers, there is a need for healthcare service providers to strategically position themselves to meet the present and future needs of clients. United Healthcare, America’s leading healthcare insurance network in client base and market capitalization, has strategically positioned itself to meet the healthcare needs of citizens not only in the present but also in the future. The organization has achieved the objective through strategic planning, incorporation of innovative technologies throughout its network, strategic acquisitions and partnerships, and the adoption of customer-centric value-based care model. Indeed, it has strategically positioned itself in the healthcare market to meet the future healthcare needs of the population.

Strategic Positioning: Towards Meeting Future Healthcare Needs of Patients

With a market capitalization estimated at $184 billion and 75 million clients from across the globe, United Healthcare is the largest insurance company in the United States. Over the years, the enterprise has continued to cement the enviable status through strategic positioning in America’s and the world’s healthcare industry (Andrew n.pag). At the core of the company’s success is its ability to meet the current healthcare needs of citizens while strategically planning to meet the emerging and future needs of its client base. Throughout its network, the company has dedicated its efforts to patient satisfaction; a goal it has achieved through expanding its network, effectively managing its resources and supporting its staff with innovative technologies (Baskin n.pag).

In appreciation of the importance of innovation in meeting current, emerging, and future healthcare needs of its clients United Healthcare has dedicated itself to incorporating technology into its operations (Comstock n.pag). The company has adopted evolving technologies, such as telehealth, which will enable an increasing number of patients to receive primary care virtually from their remote locations without physically visiting a doctor’s office. Such an innovative technology is bound to meet the healthcare needs of patients in a healthcare ecosystem where such virtual technologies are projected to gain traction in the coming decade and beyond. Telehealth also addresses staffing both at physician and nurse levels by improving their service delivery, which is a critical component of enhancing patient satisfaction (UnitedHealthcare Group n.pag).

In the next decade, the need for affordable and evidence-based healthcare practices and services will increase significantly because, with the augmented perversion of technology, healthcare information availability and accessibility will dramatically improve. United Healthcare has positioned itself in the market to meet these needs by implementing a value-based care model. According to Freeman (2017), the organization has implemented the radical futuristic model that is characterized by outcome-based reimbursements. It has invested heavily in the model and has expanded its incorporation into new and existing product lines, such as Medicare Advantage and Medicaid healthcare plans. Additionally, its commitment to the futuristic model is evidenced by the increased funds spent on the initiative. At its inception in the early 2000s, the entity spent $12 billion on value-based medical care services. The amount increased to $54 billion in 2017 with a pledge to increase it to $65 billion by 2019. United Healthcare is committed to ensuring that value-based care is incorporated into its DNA (Freeman n.pag).

The company’s commitment to action-oriented and reward-based management of healthcare has driven it to implement futuristic technologies and practices that are aimed at ensuring holistic and transparent customer experience. One such initiative is the introduction of Group Prenatal Care; an evidence-based initiative aimed at reducing preterm birth to 5.5% by 2030 from its current 9.6% (UnitedHealthcare n.pag). Its commitment to customer-centricity has enabled it to turn innovation into action by developing technologies that can leverage its ever-growing patient database to come up with simple and efficient services and meet the growing customers’ expectations. Through data leveraging, the company strategically positioned itself to cross-link “claims data, lab data, self-reported data, and biometric data” through its biometric profiling technology to develop solutions that can “change consumers’ personal behavior” (D’Antonio). The move will be critical in providing comprehensive services, including health and fitness services, and reducing cases of lifestyle diseases such as diabetes in the future (D’Antonio n.pag).

Strategic Planning: Comparing United Healthcare and Singapore Airlines  

Managing for the future is an important sustainable growth and development strategy that is critical in ensuring that organizations meet the current, emerging, and future needs of their customers. It is a management strategy that both Singapore Airlines and United Healthcare have adopted. Both companies have focused on empowering their employees by adopting technologies that are aimed at improving their service delivery. Singapore Airlines has a comprehensive workforce program that includes onboard training, cyclical evaluation, and continuous development.

While the airline has primarily centered its management efforts on human resource development and staffing, United Healthcare has diversified its approach beyond human resource management practices. The health insurer’s approach is more holistic and focuses on both technology and human resource management. The airline targets younger customers primarily in its approach. However, United Healthcare uses a broad-based tactic whereby it targets not only the younger population but also the elderly. Unlike the health insurer, the airline has failed to incorporate technology in its practice effectively and even abandoned its technological forays, such as the slot machines. On the contrary, United Healthcare has been at the forefront in incorporating technologies, including the revolutionary telehealth and biometric filing system, into the healthcare industry (UnitedHealthcare Group n.pag; D’Antonio n.pag).

Conclusion

The next decade will require companies that have strategically incorporated innovative ideas and technologies into their service delivery to improve customer experience and satisfaction because technology will become essential in every sphere of human life. United Healthcare is the largest insurer in the United States not only based on its market capitalization but also due to its huge client base. The aging population of the United States is growing; hence the organization ought to prepare to cover the additional clients. The organization has adopted a customer-centric management approach that incorporates technology and innovative and evidence-based practices. Consequently, it has positioned itself in an excellent position to meet the healthcare needs of its clients in the next decade and beyond. These futuristic and evidence-based practices and innovative technologies are aimed at ensuring that patients receive comprehensive services on a collaborative platform. Such an approach is also mirrored in the management practices adopted by Singapore Airlines. The airline is dedicated to empowering its employees. It has incorporated new technologies to target the younger generations while maintaining its core customer bases.

 

 

Works Cited

Baskin, Jonathan Salem. “Innovation at UnitedHealthcare has a human face.” Forbes, 28 April 2015. https://www.forbes.com/sites/jonathansalembaskin/2015/04/28/innovation-at-unitedhealthcare-has-a-human-face/#57d5fcab1734

Comstock, Jonah. “For Cigna, UnitedHealthcare, digital innovation is all about the customer.” MobiHealthNews, 6 October 2017. https://www.mobihealthnews.com/content/cigna-unitedhealthcare-digital-innovation-all-about-customer

D’Antonio, Mila. “UnitedHealthcare’s Innovation Impact.” TTEC, March 2011. https://www.ttec.com/resources/articles/unitedhealthcares-innovation-impact#.WzZ0szozZdh

Freeman, Gregory A. “UnitedHealthcare sees valued-based care as solution for the future.” HealthLeaders Media, 9 August 2017. https://www.healthleadersmedia.com/finance/unitedhealthcare-sees-value-based-care-solution-future

Andrew. UnitedHealth Group (UNH): “Latest acquisition gives competitive advantage.” Modest Money, 2017. https://www.modestmoney.com/unitedhealth-group-unh-latest-acquisition-gives-competitive-advantage/39446/

UnitedHealthcare. “The Preterm Birth Rate in the United States is Too High. Here’s One Way to Save Lives.” UnitedHealthcare, 11 June 2017. https://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/newsroom/2017/2017-11-06-preterm-birth-rate-us.html

UnitedHealthcare Group. “Research & Development.” UnitedHealthcare Group, 2018. https://www.unitedhealthgroup.com/about/innovation.html