Humana taps eMindful to add online mindfulness training for members

By Heather Mack
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Louisville, Kentucky-based health insurer Humana is now offering live, online mindfulness training programs to employers via wellness provider eMindful. The partnership will enable Humana to provide eMindful’s evidence-based mindfulness programs that aim to improve well-being for employees and reduce preventable risk factors that contribute to chronic health conditions.

“In the fact-based world of today, the trend towards mindfulness and resiliency is something that has really been a focus for us. It’s something we hear our customers talk about and request,” Kristine Mullen, vice president of Humana Wellness told MobiHealthNews.

Humana was looking at a few different companies and startups to integrate into its wellness portfolio, and implemented eMindful programs on its own associates last year, for periods of eight to 16 weeks across a variety of sectors. Employees participate in eMindful’s online, live webinar-style classes at their work computer, on a mobile device, or in a group setting. Participants can hear, speak with, and interact with the expert instructor, as well as with other class participants.

“Because the programs are accessible and convenient for most people, eMindful is an easy way to make a real impact on employee health and long-term behavioral change,” Dr. Joel Kahn, chief medical officer of eMindful said in a statement. “Our programs tackle common problems head-on in a way that improves health claims, boosts productivity and provides absenteeism cost savings.”

Classes range from managing stress and weight, to living with diabetes, to tobacco cessation. Early pilots from the partnership show promising results across all classes, regardless of topic, on reduced stress, improved sleep, increased physical activity, and fewer CDC Unhealthy Days. These results, which Humana collaborated with the University of Michigan to obtain, showed that mindfulness training was effective in increasing overall job satisfaction and self-worth, especially with employees who worked in the call center.

“It became a clear win-win for us,” Mullen said. “Obviously, there is some science behind mindfulness – it helps enhance cognitive flexibility and can really transcend and apply in multiple ways. It helps with job satisfaction, it reduces sick days, unscheduled time off … If you think about it holistically, people who engage in the program have connectivity, wellness and engagement in a social environment.”

Mullen said the technology is there to support an employer culture increasingly focused on improving employee mindfulness and engagement as a means to reduce productivity loss and chronic health conditions.
 
“Two years ago, I would have been able to give you a very specific profile of this employer, like the financial or tech sector,” said Mullen. “Today, pretty much every employer is talking about the need for mindfulness and wellness.”