|Type of paper:||Research paper|
|Categories:||Healthcare policy Customer service Human services|
United Healthcare Group was established in 1974 and is based in Minnetonka, Minnesota. United Healthcare group has a network of subsidiaries and partners that extends throughout the United States of America and the globe. The company provides a wide range of healthcare benefits to organizations and individual subscribers. The following paper seeks to evaluate United Healthcare's ability to meet emerging patient needs and issues within the organization that might impact its future. The paper also presents a strategic plan to ensure United Healthcare is ready for patients' emerging needs.
The medical field is going to face unique health challenges in the coming decade. These challenges will include an increase in healthcare costs, tiering of the health system, a rise in the number of older people, new and re-emerging infections, and terrorism. To overcome these challenges, the organization has taken several steps to overcome them. These measures are discussed below:
The United Healthcare group has four divisions. These divisions include the United Healthcare employer and individual; this division provides well-being plans and services to large employers. The second division is the United Healthcare Medicare and retirement, which offers well-being plans to citizens aged above sixty-five years. The third arm is the United Healthcare community and state; this provides services to the poor and people who don't access employer-funded health coverage. The fourth arm is the United Healthcare global, which covers individuals and organizations beyond the American borders. The aspect of specialization will allow the group to be preemptive in its reactions to the changes in the medical world. For example, as more technologically savvy and health-conscious members of society get older, there will be a need to have constant feedback and communication. Therefore, having a division focused on this group ensures that communication mechanisms are established, and insurance plans to meet their needs are created.
UnitedHealth Group has a fully-fledged research division. This division explores the use of technology, such as artificial intelligence. Artificial intelligence is a crucial pillar in improving the healthcare system in the next decade (Liew, 2018). Artificial intelligence is expected to boost the patient experience, reduce cost Medicare and increase positive health outcomes (Maeng, Davis, Tomcavage, Graf, & Procopio, 2013). United Healthcare is also a member of Synaptic Health Alliance that is researching the applications of blockchain technology in ensuring that data shared is accurate and efficient. United Healthcare has also chosen to implement a value-based approach in their business, which ensures that its subsidiaries and partners receive payment depending on the value of their input (Porter, 2009).
To ensure effective delivery of services, the UnitedHealth Group has sought to develop its network through acquisitions, partnerships, and the creation of subsidiaries. For example, after the nature of its subsidiary Diversified Pharmaceuticals Services in 1988, saw the establishment of the first pharmacy benefit management. On June 19, 2019, the group took over the online platform, PatientsLikeMe, and made it a part of its research division (Lovette & Muoio, 2019). The group also has providers and keeps an up-to-date record under the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regulations.
The following is the strategic plan to address network growth, nurse staffing, resource management, and patient satisfaction. The project considers the current conditions and the desired position.
- Promote network growth in two years.
- Reduce nurse staffing and encourage the use of artificial intelligence,
- Optimize available resources by 30% in three years.
- Increase patient satisfaction by 50% in three years.
- Current position: UnitedHealth group carries out a SWOT analysis to determine its current state.
Strength: the group has a thriving research division. The acquisition of companies involved in the development of medical technology has gone a long way in bolstering its expertise, skills, and network. The company has a flexible structure that allows for specialization. Specialization ensures that each department has a single task, therefore encouraging research. The group also has a vast network of both subsidiaries and partners. This network provides that the company can offer a variety of services at a reasonable cost. UnitedHealth Group has a substantial financial that might. Economic might enables it to carry out an advertisement for its services as well as lobbying for favorable policies. For example, in 2010, it spent $1.8 million on lobbying (The Center for Responsive Politics, 2010). Its financial position is further emphasized by its increasing share price, which stood at $245.88 in 2018 and an employee workforce of three hundred thousand (UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION, 2018).
Weaknesses: the group has been facing a myriad of court challenges. These disputes result in the use of company resources on legal fees and damage to its image. A poor image will discourage potential employees, partners, and patients from joining the group. This poor image inadvertently leads to loss of revenue and expertise. Therefore, there is a need to have more transparent contracts with partners and to ensure that the company is made aware of legal consequences before taking any actions.
Opportunities: the group is well regarded in the medical industry, and some of its subsidiaries work with the government. There are emerging trends in the medical field, such as the use of a value-based approach and the use of Artificial Intelligence that will further boost patient comfort and minimize resource wastage. The development of artificial intelligence will result in some functions handled by humans to be taken over by machines. This shift will result in lower employee numbers. Research into diseases will yield more information on their cures and causes, hence placing physicians in a better position to treat patients. Better treatment will result in a more content patient.
Threats: Development in technology is reducing the number of patients visiting hospitals as more patients use social media to get in contact with doctors or to search for their symptoms and self-medicate. Technology development also places the group's data and cyber insecurity threats. The growth of telemedicine could increase cases of negligence among physicians and negate the ability to verify the credentials and experience of the doctors.
Strategies for Achieving the Desired Position
United Healthcare group will have to funnel more resources into research. This research should cover not just new technology but also emerging and re-emerging diseases and their cures.
United Healthcare group will have to develop new policies that encourage employees to be creative and minimize conflicts with subsidiaries, patients, and partners. For example, employees who give unique ideas can be offered funds to continue their research and scholarships to further their education in the field under consideration. The health care group is also advised to seek alternative means of resolving conflicts in the future. United Healthcare group should consider mediation and negotiations, which are less antagonistic.
United Healthcare group should also carry out a public sensitization of new technologies. Public awareness will make patients familiar with the technology hence reducing apathy among invalids.
United Healthcare group's extensive network makes it a leader in the medical field. Therefore the group should continue seeking partnerships with like-minded partners. Collaborations should be geared towards pooling resources, research, and public education.
Challenges facing the implementation of the strategic plan:
The company faces several legal disputes with some of its subsidiaries. These disputes deny the group finances to implement the company vision as well as taint the company image. The use of artificial intelligence could face initial skepticism before patients get used to the new system.
Process model: this model is suitable because it allows for the creation of steps in implementation; therefore, it is easy to track the implementation process and evaluate the impact of the plan. The process model also allows for the use of research results during application. In case of any anomalies, they can be easily identified and rectified.
The Center for Responsive Politics. (2010). UnitedHealth Group Lobbying Profile. Retrieved from https://www.opensecrets.org/federal-lobbying/firms/summary?cycle=2010&id=&lname=UnitedHealth+Group
Liew, C. (2018). The future of radiology augmented with Artificial Intelligence: A strategy for success. European Journal of Radiology, 102, 152-156. doi:10.1016/j.ejrad.2018.03.019
Lovette, L., & Muoio, D. (2019, June 24). UnitedHealth Group acquires PatientsLikeMe. Retrieved from https://www.mobihealthnews.com/content/unitedhealth-group-acquires-patientslikeme
Maeng, D. D., Davis, D. E., Tomcavage, J., Graf, T. R., & Procopio, K. M. (2013). Improving Patient Experience by Transforming Primary Care: Evidence from Geisinger's Patient-Centered Medical Homes. Population Health Management, 16(3), 157-163. doi:10.1089/pop.2012.0048
Porter, M. E. (2009). A Strategy for Health Care Reform - Toward a Value-Based System. New England Journal of Medicine, 361(2), 109-112. doi:10.1056/nejmp0904131
UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION. (2018, December 31). Form 10-K. Retrieved from https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/731766/000073176619000005/unh2018123110-k.htm
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