From left to right: Phil Murphy; Kerry Kennedy; Barack Obama; David Zaslav; and Bruce Broussard./ TWITTER

Humana: New Study Finds Healthy Days Valid Tool for Evaluating Population Health

Humana Inc.announced results from a study that found a relationship between patient-reported, health-related quality of life (HRQoL) and multiple objective measures of health in elderly Medicare Advantage patients with chronic conditions.


The study was published inTheAmerican Journal of Managed Careand co-authored by researchers from Humana, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The findings underscore the validity of using Healthy Days data to supplement traditional health measures in assessing health status in this population and to evaluate overall population health.

The study found that patients with six chronic conditions (coronary artery disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), hypertension, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and depression) experienced a greater number of physically and mentally unhealthy days than the population average. However, those who were compliant with certain quality measures related to their chronic conditions, such as diabetic eye exams or medication adherence, reported fewer unhealthy days. Patients who reported more unhealthy days had higher health care utilization (doctor visits and hospitalizations).

The researchers used the survey instrument Healthy Days to evaluateHRQoL, a CDC measure that assesses the total burden of disease in a population, including physical, emotional, and mental health and social functioning.Healthy Daysuses four questions to assess how individuals perceive their recent health and how many days over the previous month they felt physically or mentally unwell.

“This is an important study showing how Healthy Days data correlates with health indicators from administrative claims, and the findings show the survey tool is a valid method to evaluate overall population health,” said Tristan Cordier, MPH, analytics manager, Clinical Analytics at Humana and lead author of the study. “These results also support Humana’s decision to use Healthy Days to measure progress toward its goal of improving the health of the communities served by 20 percent by 2020.”

On average, the study population reported seven physically unhealthy days and four mentally unhealthy days, with a third of patients reporting zero unhealthy days. COPD and depression had the biggest incremental impacts on HRQoL with 2.93 and 2.41 excess physically unhealthy days and 1.08 and 4.02 excess mentally unhealthy days, respectively.

Patients who reported more unhealthy days had higher adjusted health care utilization (doctor visits and hospitalizations) and higher costs.

Not completing diabetic eye exams and LDL cholesterol screening or not having good control of diabetes (measured by hemoglobin A1c) was associated with significantly more physically unhealthy days after adjusting for potential other factors affecting HRQoL. Similarly, not completing diabetic eye exams and not controlling LDL cholesterol in diabetes were associated with significantly more mentally unhealthy days. In addition, nonadherence with angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers and oral diabetes medications was associated with significantly more physically and mentally unhealthy days.

The study evaluated a Medicare Advantage population of 55,681 individuals who had a mean age of 75 years, were 56 percent female and 87 percent white. Hypertension and congestive heart failure were the most and least prevalent chronic conditions (73 percent and 12 percent), respectively.

Humana is creating population-level health care interventions that can potentially reduce the burden of chronic disease and improve overall wellbeing. Future studies will use Healthy Days data to investigate the impact of such interventions. Humana remains committed to its Bold Goal of improving the health of the communities served by 20 percent by 2020.

Authors of the study are Tristan Cordier, M.P.H.; S. Lane Slabaugh, Pharm.D.; Eric Havens, M.A.; Jonathan Pena, M.S.; Gil Haugh, M.S.; Vipin Gopal, Ph.D.; Andrew Renda, M.D.; Mona Shah, Ph.D.; and Matthew Zack, M.D.

Latest News

Juneteenth National Independence Day Act bill signing

House Passes — and Biden Signs — New Bill To Make Juneteenth a Federal Holiday

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to designate Juneteenth as a federal holiday, one day after the Senate unanimously voted for its passage. President Biden quickly signed the bill into law on June 17, making this year’s Juneteenth the first national recognition of Black Independence Day in the United…

LGBTQ protection in schools

US Education Department Issues Statement Confirming Title IX Protects LGBTQ Students Against Discrimination

Following an executive order from President Joe Biden directing federal agencies to defend LGBTQ students against discrimination, the Education Department has issued an official statement saying that Title IX does indeed ensure equal protection for LGBTQ students under federal law. Jo Yurcaba of NBC News reported that the Department of…

Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Texas Governor Approves Bill Banning Discussions of Race and Racism Within State’s Schools

Texas lawmakers continue to astound with the number of racist, transphobic laws they are willing to try to write into law.  In the last few months alone, we’ve seen Texas lawmakers draft legislation that would penalize parents who support and help their transgender children access gender-affirming care with jail time…

Cox Auto Study on Dealerships Thriving in Digital

Originally published at coxenterprises.com. Cox Communications ranked No. 32 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Cox Automotive has released a new study — “How to Thrive: ​Best Practices for an Accelerated Digital Landscape” — examining effective strategies dealerships are adopting to find profits and thrive…

Hershey Named To The Civic 50 And Recognized As Consumer Staples Leader For Commitment To Empowering Communities

Originally published at thehersheycompany.com. The Hershey Company ranked No. 10 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   The Hershey Company has been named a 2021 honoree of The Civic 50 by Points of Light, the world’s largest organization dedicated to volunteer service. In addition to being recognized…