From the Desk of Henrietta: The Value of a Cloverleaf
An imaginary friend of mine smokes, is decidedly chunky, and has high blood pressure and high cholesterol. His kids nag him about the cigarettes and weight; his wife worries more about the hidden conditions.
This fellow could be any one of many of us, and if he wanted to track his efforts to improve his health, he could use the “cloverleaf” graphic introduced in this issue of Hank—a visual summary of the four measures of health at the heart of the new Total Health Incentive Plan.
The cloverleaf has a lot in common with the Value Compass, which illustrates the interconnectedness of service, quality, affordability and the workplace environment. The Value Compass reminds us that improving in one area at the expense of another isn’t progress—and that improving in one area frequently leads to improvements in other areas.
So it is with health. If I take up smoking and have a cigarette each time I’m tempted to eat something sweet, I may improve my Body Mass Index, or BMI—but I won’t have improved my health. If my imaginary friend starts to make better food choices and ups his exercise, however, he’s likely to see improvement across the spectrum of health issues he’s facing. By measuring improvement in several areas, the new incentive plan puts the emphasis on bringing the whole person into better balance.
And by putting the focus on collective improvement, the plan recognizes that all of us are making decisions as individuals in a social system—a system that can make it harder, or easier, to make better choices. Losing the dougnuts at a breakfast meeting may seem like a small gesture, but many such gestures add up to powerful change.