Fast Five with Wendy Whittington, MD
What challenges or gaps in care are you focused on?
We are solely focused on family caregiver support. Our healthcare system often overlooks the very important role that family caregivers play in the overall health and well-being of their loved ones, and we are here to fill the gap in the support they need. In addition, family caregivers play a large role in meeting the social determinant of health needs of those they care for so we are exploring how we can help eliminate barriers to care to ultimately improve health outcomes.
What initiatives are you currently spearheading to improve health?
Right now, we are providing our family caregiver support as an employer-sponsored benefit and are working with employers across the country of all sizes and industries to help their employees as they navigate their caregiving journeys. We also are working to help organizations and communities recognize that caregiving is a social determinant of health as well as lead the conversation on destigmatizing family caregiving. Particularly in the workplace, there can be a stigma that comes from an employee admitting they are a caregiver for fear of potential negative repercussions. We must work to destigmatize and eliminate the fears of caregivers asking for support.
What necessary collaborations/partnerships have you established within and/or outside of your organization in developing your initiatives?
We strive to reach as many families and caregivers as possible every day in order to get them the support they desperately need. Therefore, we have made strategic partnerships that will help us access more employers to offer the Cariloop benefit to their employees. We are proud to work with some of the largest channel partners in the HR, benefits navigation and total well-being space to bring the Cariloop solution to their clients.
What is your measurement criteria for success/or current measurable improvements have you realized from the initiative?
We currently measure the return on investment for employers by quantifying the time their employees save when they have caregiving support and a Care Coach to help relieve some of their burdens. We also measure decreased absenteeism, presenteeism and leaves of absence. In addition, we have pilot projects underway to prove our hypothesis that family caregiver support contributes to better health outcomes at lower costs for their loved ones as part of our mission for caregiving to be considered a social determinant of health.
What gives you hope for the future in health care?
Innovation and out-of-the-box thinking. Traditional healthcare continues to battle the same challenges we’ve faced for decades and the system is still very broken. True change can only come from something very disruptive, and we are beginning to see more and more disruption coming from outside the traditional understanding of what our healthcare system consists of.
Wendy Whittington, MD
Chief Care Officer