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In Good Company

Changing health care requires getting a lot more personal

Jan 13 2016

Health care itself has always been personal, but the experience most people have in the health care system is anything but personal.

Aetna President Karen S. Lynch is focused on changing that. Lynch leads Aetna’s commercial, government and specialty businesses, representing 95 percent of Aetna’s revenues.

Editor’s note: The following is an excerpt from a Leaders magazine profile of Karen S. Lynch, Aetna’s president. Lynch was interviewed on a wide range of topics from transforming the personal health care experience for millions of people to engaging employees in a higher purpose.

On the essential personal nature of health care:

“Health care is getting more personal…so we’re focusing more on the experience consumers have with us. I sometimes call it ‘health on the go’ — we can provide technology and information that can help individuals not only improve their day-to-day wellness, but also address more serious conditions like diabetes and cancer.”

“…people do get sick. When that happens, we need to make sure they have access to high-quality, affordable services.”

“Health care is not just about insurance – there is an emotional connection… We create an environment where our employees can really help people achieve their best health… It’s our responsibility to provide our customers with the information, tools and support they need to take better care of themselves and their families.”

On what makes Aetna unique:

“We are driven by a higher purpose — to build a healthier world, one person at a time, one community at a time… There are a number of ways we measure the impact on the people we serve. We start by asking ourselves, ‘Are we improving access, affordability and quality in the health care system?’ ‘Are we helping people achieve more healthy days?'”

On the importance of having a purpose:

“I get up every morning knowing that 20-plus million people count on us for their overall health care needs.”

“People want to feel good about the companies they do business with… Actions speak louder than words. Our Aetna Foundation has given more than $427 million to local communities. Our employees have contributed 2.5 million hours of volunteer work across the U.S since 2003… Not only is corporate responsibility the right thing to do, it’s been infectious in our organization and drives us to want to do more.”