future of medicine

University of Houston teams up with health care company for value-based care program

The University of Houston in partnership with Humana is now offering a six-course, fully online program focusing on value-based care. Photo via UH.edu

Last week, the University of Houston announced a new online program that will provide specialized value-based care training for providers, academia and other business and industry professionals.

UH teamed up with Kentucky-based health insurance giant, Humana, to create the new Value-based Care Specialization program that will teach the fundamentals and real-world application of value-based care. The flexible, fully-online program is being provided via the collaborative Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute and through global online learning platform Coursera.

"This readily available and affordable option will support those who are working with practices and providers to create better outcomes for their patients," says Tray Cockerell, director of strategy advancement for Humana, in a news release. "It's more important than ever, with the tumult caused by COVID-19, that practices focus on prevention and care coordination.

"We learned in 2020 that providers in value-based care agreements were better positioned to withstand the financial impact the pandemic brought on the health care industry because they had established patient-centered medical practices.," he continues. "Because they could quickly pivot their resources into action to best serve patients, their income was not as drastically affected as those of their fee-for-service peers."

Recent surveys have shown that there is a varied understanding of the definition of value-based care within the health care industry, and now more than ever there is a need to retool the workforce.

"It's essential that those who work to improve the health of their communities speak the same language," says Dr. LeChauncy Woodard, general internist and founding director, Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute at the University of Houston, in the release. "The collaboration on this content assures that everyone, from the physician and nurse, to social workers, pharmacists and claims representatives, as well as consumers of health care understand what it takes to work together. These multisector partnerships help to ensure patients are receiving the best possible care and achieving the best outcomes at the lowest possible cost."

The program consists of six courses and a capstone project, and each course features a few learning modules and a summative assignment. Participants can take any of the six courses independently — receiving a certificate for each — or collectively for the specialization designation, per the release.

"The health care industry is rapidly changing, and high-quality, flexible learning can help support medical professionals preparing for the future," says Betty Vandenbosch, chief content officer at Coursera, in the release. "We are excited to partner with leaders such as the University of Houston and Humana to offer job-relevant content in the emerging area of value-based care."

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Building Houston

 
 

SeekerPitch exists to update the job hiring process in a way that benefits both the job seekers and recruiters. Photo via Getty Images

Companies across the country have been requiring resumes and cover letters from their new hire hopefuls since the World War II era, and it's about time that changed. A startup founded in Houston has risen to the occasion.

Houstonian Samantha Hepler had the idea for SeekerPitch when she was looking for her next move. She felt like she had developed a formidable career in digital transformation and had worked with big name clients from Chevron to Gucci. However, she couldn't even get an interview for a role she felt she would be a shoe-in for.

"I knew if I could just get through the door, a company would see the value in me," Hepler tells InnovationMap. "I wasn't being seen, and I wasn't being heard. I didn't know a way to do that."

And she wasn't alone in this frustration. Hepler says she discovered she was one of the 76 percent of job candidates who get filtered out based on former job titles and keywords. At the same time, Hepler says she discovered that 80 percent of companies reported difficulty finding talent.

Samantha Hepler had the idea for SeekerPitch based on her own ill-fated job hunt experience. Photo courtesy of SeekerPitch

"I was just a symptom of a larger problem companies were facing," Hepler says. "Companies were using algorithms to dilute their talent pool, and then the hires they were making weren't quality because they were looking for people based on what they've done. They weren't looking at people for what they could do."

SeekerPitch, which is in the current cohort of gBETA Houston, allows job seekers to create an account and tell their story — not just their job history. The platform prioritizes video content and quick interviews so that potential hires can get face-to-face with hiring managers.

"We empower companies to hear the candidates' stories," Hepler says. "We're bringing candidates streaming to computer screens. We are the Netflix of recruiting."

Hepler gives an example of a first-generation college graduate who's got "administrative assistant" and "hostess" on her resume — but who has accomplished so much more than that. She put herself through school with no debt and in three years instead of four. SeekerPitch allows for these types of life accomplishments and soft skills into the recruiting process.

SeekerPitch profiles allow job seekers to tell their story — not just their past job experience. Photo courtesy of SeekerPitch

Over the past few years, a trend in hiring has been in equity and diversity, and Hepler says that people have been trying to address this with blurring out people's names and photos.

"Our belief is that connection is the antidote to bias," Hepler says, mentioning a hypothetical job candidate who worked at Walmart because they couldn't afford to take multiple unpaid internships. "They can't come alive on a resume and they won't stand a chance next to another person."

SeekerPitch is always free for job seekers, and, through the end of the year, it's also free for companies posting job positions. Beginning in January 2022, it will cost $10 per day to list a job opening. Also next year — Hepler says she'll be opening a round of pre-seed funding in order to grow her team. So far, the company has been bootstrapped, thanks to re-appropriated funding from Hepler's canceled wedding. (She opted for a cheaper ceremony instead.)

Right now, SeekerPitch sees an opportunity to support growing startups that need to make key hires — and quickly. The company has an ongoing pilot partnership with a Houston startup that is looking to hiring over a dozen positions in a month.

"As a startup, your key hires are going to make or break your company — but you have to hire quickly," Hepler says. "That's the ultimate challenge for startups. ... But if you don't hire well it can cost your company a lot of money or be the demise of your company. It's people who make a company great."

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