By Lauren Flynn Kelly

In recent years, Humana Inc. has piloted loneliness interventions as part of its “Bold Goal” initiative. And two population health executives from the company tell AIS Health that addressing senior loneliness isn’t as simple as offering a one-size-fits-all benefit and that it takes time to first study and understand the impact and prevalence of loneliness in your own membership before developing strategies that will work for different people.

Conducting its own research in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Humana found that social isolation and loneliness ranked as the No. 1 most impactful social determinant of health as it relates to Healthy Days, a metric developed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that Humana uses to track and measure population health.

According to Caraline Coats, vice president for Bold Goal and population health strategy with Humana, the insurer built a predictive model to determine where members are most lonely or severely lonely, where to deploy pilots in the most impactful way, and how to segment and target interventions at different groups.

Andrew Renda, M.D., corporate strategy director with Humana’s population health segment, says the insurer is encouraged by the early results of those interventions and as it evaluates how to expand them further or create others, has approached it in two ways:

(1) Looking for stand-alone interventions that it can pilot and scale up.

(2) Looking for ways to integrate loneliness strategies within its current clinical operating model.

Humana has also created public-facing tools to help educate patients and make it easier for physicians to implement loneliness screenings in their practices.