Humana, University of Houston offer online courses on value-based care

Valued-based care helped some providers weather the pandemic. The seven-course "specialization" on Coursera will help providers, others understand how value-based care works.

Most of last year and during the first part of this year, many physicians and healthcare practices struggled financially because patients avoided in-person care. Patients were “medically distancing” inappropriately and not getting the medical care and routine screenings they needed because of COVID-19, according to Tray Cockerell, director of strategy advancement for Humana, told Managed Healthcare Executive®.

It was a different story for practices that were more deeply involved with value-based care.

“During the pandemic, value-based care providers were able to weather the storm much better,” said Cockerell. “We have seen patients behave differently in these kinds of arrangements. One of the things we stress in a value-based practice is to come into the doctor. “In addition to treating their health, we frequently screen for social determinants of health and refer them to organizations that can meet their needs.”

Still, many physicians, social workers, nurses, pharmacists and other healthcare providers are not implementing value-based care programs. They need a better understanding of the intricacies of how they work, according to Cockerell.

Humana and the University of Houston are meeting that need with a seven-course “specialization” on Coursera, the online education program. Completing the flight of courses will help providers, academics, business and industry professionals and the public learn about the “fundamentals and real-world application of value-based care that has become integral to improving outcomes in health care,” Humana said in a press release.

“Taking this specialization will help practitioners understand how value-based payment works, how they can incorporate more social determinants of health in value-based programs, and how we treat the whole patient,” Cockerell said. “Keeping the patients at the center of care is really what our corporate strategy is about.”

Already, enrollment is in the “upper thousands” of people, and Cockerell expects many other students to enroll. The first of the seven courses is titled “Value-Based Care: Introduction to Value-Based Care and the U.S. Health System.”

The program is needed because it is “essential that those who work to improve bthe health of their communities speak the same language,” said LeChauncy D. Woodard, M.D., M.P.H, the founding director of Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute at the University of Houston, in the press release. Woodard; Susie Gronseth, a clinical associate professor at the University of Houston and Sara G. McNeil, an associate professor at the university, are the three instructors.

“The collaboration on this content assures that everyone, from the physician and nurse, to social workers, pharmacists and claims representatives, as well as consumers of health care understand what it takes to work together. These multisector partnerships help to ensure patients are receiving the best possible care and achieving the best outcomes at the lowest possible cost,” Woodard said in the press release.