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Driving Innovation In the Health Care Marketplace:

A CEO Report

Coviden plc

Covidien is a global medical device company committed to improving the lives of people around the world. That commitment extends to employees and their families. In 2013, the company launched a multiyear strategy in the United States aimed at raising personal health awareness, improving health risk factors and lowering cost trends. The strategy includes plan design, wellness initiatives, incentives, education and engagement components. Its goal is to enable employees and their families to make more effective health care decisions and motivate them to live healthier lifestyles.

This year, Covidien added an innovative new treatment decision support program to engage health plan members in a unique way. In partnership with UnitedHealthcare, Covidien created the Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) Education Incentive Program for eligible members who are contemplating surgery. Its goal is to educate them about minimally invasive (laparoscopic) surgical options so they can make the best treatment decision for their circumstances.

As a business, Covidien has deep clinical expertise in laparoscopic procedures and understands that patient education is key to effective decisionmaking. While the company knows that MIS is not right for everyone, the advantages can be substantial for those who can elect this option: faster recovery, quicker return to work, fewer complications, less pain and lower costs.

An interactive patient-education tool is the heart of the program. Members log on to the UnitedHealthcare website to access e-learning modules for nine common surgical procedures including hysterectomy, colectomy and appendectomy. They watch a video comparing MIS options to more invasive options and complete a brief quiz. They receive a $200 gift card for successfully completing the program — regardless of which surgical option they choose.

Each module includes a feedback survey. To date, 89 percent of participants agree that the modules increased awareness of MIS, 86 percent changed their thinking about their surgery and 89 percent see value in offering patient decision support tools.

The MIS program is supported by a comprehensive communication campaign, which includes corresponding brochures on each procedure. Companion provider education modules are underway.

To date, all members who have engaged in the program and had surgery, elected MIS. By year end, Covidien will be able to quantify the impact of the program based on outcomes, proving that combining patient education with incentives is a highly effective engagement strategy. Covidien will continue to explore innovative ways to improve members’ health and lower costs for everyone.


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BRT companies provide health coverage to more than 40 million Americans. We help American workers and their families remain healthy, receive quality treatment when necessary and achieve better health outcomes. The private-sector innovations in the insurance marketplace that enable us to provide these services to our employees and their families serve as models for public programs — but additional reforms are necessary.

This report highlights the innovations we have made and the public policy changes we believe would drive value by promoting health and improving outcomes.