Achieving Better Health Outcomes

UnitedHealth Group is committed to helping improve health outcomes and reducing the burden of disease. Today, 60% of Americans have chronic conditions and we anticipate this will continue to increase with the aging population. Additionally, 1 in 5 adults experience a mental illness each year.

We strive to take a holistic approach to delivering care, preventing chronic disease, addressing health disparities and deploying resources to improve health literacy. By enhancing the performance of the health system, we can better meet the needs of the communities and people we serve.

Managing Chronic Disease

Treatment of chronic conditions accounts for more than $1 trillion in direct health care costs each year and the prevalence of chronic disease continues to grow. Using data analytics – combined with individualized care plans and digital tools – our clinical programs are proactively engaging patients to provide personalized support through designated care teams.

Digital diabetes management helps those who struggle to meet their target glucose levels and are at risk for adverse health events and long-term organ damage. UnitedHealth Group’s Level2® digital therapy equips eligible patients with a continuous glucose monitor, an activity tracker, app-based alerts and one-on-one clinical care to encourage healthier lifestyle decisions. Early results suggest that Level2 can result in a meaningful reduction in blood sugar levels and, for some patients, reduce or eliminate the use of medication.

Level2 Outcomes*
  • 90% of patients with an HbA1c greater than 8 saw improvement within 90 days
  • 37% of patients who reported medication de-escalation were able to fully stop medications

Supporting cancer patients and their families can help manage long-term secondary side effects and preemptively monitor for reoccurance while receiving intensive therapy.

Through Optum’s Cancer Support Program – which provides specialized oncology case management from diagnosis and treatment to end-of-life or survivorship – our members engage with a cancer nurse to help them make informed decisions about their care, while receiving high-quality care from our Cancer Centers of Excellence network. In collaboration with the member’s treating physician, Optum nurses help prevent avoidable hospital and ED visits for those at high risk of complications and side effects.

Optum’s Cancer Support Program Outcomes
  • 10% reduction in cancer medical spend compared to nonparticipants
  • 6% reduction in inpatient admissions resulting from cancer complications

Our Commitment

Close 600 million gaps in care for our members by the end of 2025

About Our Commitment
Gaps in care occur when there is a discrepancy between clinically recommended care and the actual care delivered. Common gaps include missed wellness visits, vaccinations or screenings, and medication non-adherence.

Why It’s Important 
Early identification of gaps in care leads to better health outcomes and improves people’s long-term health by reducing ED visits and preventing disease progression. The U.S. Surgeon General’s National Prevention Strategy supports the delivery of evidence-based preventive care in various settings to identify diseases early and help people make informed decisions about their health, resulting in better health outcomes.

How We’ll Do It
In 2019, we closed 104 million gaps in care for our members. We are committed to closing an additional 600 million gaps in care between 2021 and 2025 by helping providers with real-time analytics and decision support tools at the point of care. We will connect with patients in their home – including through Optum’s HouseCalls program – and enable access to convenient primary care and virtual care options. Our dedicated member service agents, equipped with member health data, will provide personalized care coordination to help identify preventive care opportunities early.

Potential Impact
Research shows closing gaps in care with in-home assessments decreases hospital admissions by up to 14% and increases physician office visits by 2% to 6%, helping to reduce health risks, lower overall costs and improve health outcomes.

Improving Mental Health Care

More than 51 million adults in the U.S. live with mental illness. And more than half of adults with mental illness do not receive the mental health services they need.

Providing holistic mental health care to these individuals by combining pharmacy care and clinical services helps patients obtain the medications they need, often resulting in improved health outcomes for those with complex medical conditions. For example, Optum’s Genoa Healthcare specialty pharmacies blend telepsychiatry and clinical services to deliver high-quality care to those with depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Genoa partners with community mental health clinics to provide pharmacy care services to patients in the same facility where they receive their medical care, creating a seamless experience for vulnerable and disadvantaged populations that results in better health outcomes.

Genoa Healthcare Outcomes
  • 91%

    medication adherence rates
  • 40% fewer hospitalizations
  • 90+ NPS

Addressing Health Literacy

Understanding health information and the language of health is critical to helping people navigate the complexities of the health care system, understand their care needs and make important decisions. 

Our research shows that seniors – who use more health care services and take more medications compared to other age groups – benefit from health literacy investments as it helps them make informed decisions, often resulting in better health outcomes.

Low health literacy costs the health system up to $240 billion per year due to higher hospitalizations, increased ED use and worse health outcomes.


visits to our Just Plain Clear® Glossary in 2020

Seniors in counties with the highest health literacy levels experience
  • 26% fewer avoidable hospitalizations
  • 18% fewer ED visits
  • 13% lower costs per beneficiary

*Level2 population assessment by OptumLabs of over 5,500 Level2 members reported March 2021. 598 patients experienced medication de-escalation.