NASHVILLE, Tenn. & NEWTON, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Healthways, Inc. (NASDAQ: HWAY) today announced an exclusive, strategic partnership with MedNetworks, Inc., a company commercializing social network mapping analytics and technology developed by physician, social scientist and Harvard professor Nicholas Christakis, M.D., Ph.D. MedNetworks has an exclusive license from Harvard University to use the Christakis technology in the healthcare sector.
Healthways and MedNetworks will apply the science of social network mapping to population health management. The understanding of social network structures and dynamics will inform the design of Healthways intervention strategies to improve well-being by showing the relationships and degrees of influence between individuals, providers and organizations, such as employers within a given community.
MedNetworks offers a first-of-its-kind method for analyzing real-life social networks to identify patterns of influence. Using sophisticated analytics, MedNetworks maps social networks, evaluates strength and dynamic development of connections of members of these networks, ranks individual influence, and performs predictive modeling. Research has revealed that influencing an individual’s behavior can be enhanced by changing the behavior of someone else in his or her network of relationships. Healthways will utilize the partnership to bring this science of social networks to its market-leading behavior change and engagement models to increase the rate and sustainability of behavior change and to do so with increased efficiency.
“At Healthways, we’ve known instinctively the power that social networks have on health and well-being. We’ve seen those networks enable thousands of people to quit smoking through Healthways QuitNet virtual community, and we know that members of Healthways SilverSneakers Fitness Program experience improvement not only to their physical health, but also their social and emotional health through the relationships formed with other program participants,” said Ben R. Leedle, Jr., Healthways CEO. “We look forward to this partnership and working together to purposefully create new ways of improving well-being, lowering costs, and increasing work-force performance.”
As part of the exclusive relationship between MedNetworks and Healthways, MedNetworks’ scientific founder Christakis will advise the partners on the application of MedNetworks unique analytics to Healthways population management methods. Christakis is co-author of “Connected,” an acclaimed book about the power of social networks based on his groundbreaking research. He is considered one of the most prominent voices in the field of social network analytics and in 2009 was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world.
“We know that your happiness or sadness, or likelihood of health risks like obesity and smoking, is affected by your social network and in turn affects the health of those around you. You are influenced not just by your friends, but by your friends’ friends and their friends, whom you may not even know,” Christakis said. “I am excited that MedNetworks and Healthways will work together to identify ways to utilize social connections to make meaningful improvements in health and well-being.”
“In America, much of our healthcare utilization and costs are driven by health issues created by lifestyle choices. We are excited to be teaming with Healthways, the leader in health and well-being improvement, to bring the best science and experience to tackle this challenge,” said Lawrence G. Miller, president and co-founder of MedNetworks. “For example, the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index has demonstrated that currently 26.7 percent of Americans are obese. MedNetworks social network mapping and analytic technology will significantly enhance Healthways’ ability to make an impact on health conditions such as obesity and thus improve the overall well-being of the nation.”
Healthways and MedNetworks will also apply MedNetworks’ proprietary algorithms to map provider networks to better understand how provider and patient relationships influence practicing patterns, the application of evidence-based medicine, and healthcare costs. “We believe that these analyses and insights will be particularly helpful in medical home and accountable care organization initiatives,” said Leedle. Further, both partners will collaborate within the Healthways-Blue Zone Vitality City initiative to establish the social graph for well-being at the community level.
Leedle adds, “This partnership further enables Healthways to continue our track record of applying science that improves the efficiency and effectiveness with which we impact the well-being of individuals and communities around the world.”
Healthways is the leading provider of specialized, comprehensive solutions to help millions of people maintain or improve their health and well-being and, as a result, reduce overall costs. Healthways' solutions are designed to keep healthy people healthy, mitigate or eliminate lifestyle risk factors that can lead to disease and optimize care for those with chronic illness. Our proven, evidence-based programs provide highly specific and personalized interventions for each individual in a population, irrespective of age or health status, and are delivered to consumers by phone, mail, internet and face-to-face interactions, both domestically and internationally. Healthways also provides a national, fully accredited complementary and alternative Health Provider Network and a national Fitness Center Network, offering convenient access to individuals who seek health services outside of, and in conjunction with, the traditional healthcare system. For more information, please visit www.healthways.com.
MedNetworks offers the only fully validated and functional technology to map, analyze and activate social networks across the healthcare sector, including consumers, patients, health plan members, physicians and hospitals. This technology, based on groundbreaking research of Harvard University Professor Nicholas Christakis, enables MedNetworks’ customers to dramatically increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their interventions. For more information, please visit www.mednetworks.com.
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