Humana Breaks the Mold

freeSlowly getting the hang of Twitter and while cruising around the TwitterSphere yesterday looking for updates from the WHIT’08 conference in DC came across a guy providing live tweets from the event.  Looking more closely at his profile, it turns out he works in a “skunk-like” innovations group at Humana, called Humana Innovations.

Like a dog on the scent of something interesting followed the trail to their idea factory, CrumpleItUp.  Very nicely done and gives one a sense of what may be possible, from a Web presentation stand point, if you start thinking beyond columns of text and smatterings of graphics.  Honestly, one of the best sites I’ve come across in sometime.

But I really fell in love with this little group and what they are trying to do when I learned that they are the brainchild behind Freewheel!n.  Freewheel!n is all about providing bicycles to consumers to encourage them to get around via bikes, thus contributing to health (big objective for Humana), goodwill (another Humana win – great PR), eco-friendly, (we all win) and the list goes on.

Freewheel!n made its grand intro at the Republican and Democratic conventions.  Following are some stats off of the Freewheel!n site (stats were cumulative over the 8 days of these conventions).
• 7,523 bike rides
• 41,724 miles ridden
• 1,293,429 calories burned
• 14.6 metric tons of carbon footprint reduction
What’s not to like?

Maybe that Freewheel!n is not in Boston yet, that is still in prototype mode, that we will have to wait to see it arrive in our own fair cities and towns.

Plenty has been written here and elsewhere about various initiatives of payers to encourage healthy behaviors.  Sorry Aetna, CIGNA, United Health, WellPoint, all of the BCBS plans, none of your initiatives have captured my imagination like CrumpleItUp. Humana has broken the mold in reaching out to consumers.

Take a look and learn.


12 thoughts on “Humana Breaks the Mold

  1. John, thanks for the great post. We’re really excited about the work that we’re doing, and love it when others get excited about it too. We’re just trying to get some “fun stuff” in consumers’ hands to see what they do with it . . . we think that a social revolution in health is on the way, and we just hope to be a part of it. Thanks for helping us spread the word.

    • Naimul & Greg,
      First off, it was quite a powerful experience to see how a social media platform like twitter exposes new learnings such as CrumbleItUp. Though I’ve known about Twitter for years, have always looked upon it with some trepidation and mis-belief that it really could be a useful tool. Saw it more as something for the young, self-absorbed.

      Well, not for the first time, and probably not the last, I have been proven wrong and am now a convert to the TwitterSphere. Extremely powerful, both to learn and also to communicate, as I did yesterday during the Google Health webcast.

      As for CrumbleItUp, my pleasure to bring so well deserved exposure to what you are doing in your Skunk-works at Humana. Refreshing to see some truly innovative thought and ideas being put out there for the consumer. Like you, I believe that there is a groundswell beginning to occur in healthcare among consumers. It is this belief that led me to founding Chilmark Research a little over a year ago.

      Keep up the good work and keep me updated for it is stories like these that deserve attention

      BTW, did I tell you I am an avid cyclists and have been commuting by bike here in Boston for over 20 yrs now, the last 15 year-round. Thus, my particular fondness for FreeCycling. If there is anything I can do to help your cause in Boston, just give a shout.

  2. That is interesting. It seems to me that the only thing standing between Heath Insurance Companies and oblivion is a strong lobby in Washington.

    So, initiatives like this can do a lot to help their image with the public. I wish there were more projects listed.

    I would really like to see the Health Insurance companies embrace more change to lower the cost of care for the public. AKA, they should be pushing more reimbursement for home based care via familiy and friends, technology, telehealth, etc.

  3. Full Disclosure – I’m working with Greg and Naimul at Humana on Social Media projects.

    John, thanks for the kind words about Freewheelin in your post. One of the things we’re trying to do is locate people who are enthusiastic about these kinds of changes to the way we look at healthcare.

    We’ve set up a group on LinkedIn that people can get to by clicking on my name here. It should be a one click process to join and we’re feeding articles into the group to hopefully stimulate the conversation. Like Greg said, there is a social revolution in Health brewing and we want to be part of it. :)

    Wes, we just launched the Crumple it Up website less than a month ago and the plan is to add projects as we go so there are more to come. Would love for you to join the group, if you’re on LinkedIn, to understand your point of view better.


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