By Sean P. Johnson

The innovators have charted a new course for health care and the early adopt­ers are reaping the benefits.

It’s funny the creativity sparked by a little drive time and some non-sequitur thoughts.

I was driving south on Interstate 41 following a late-start school day for my 6-year-old and was seeking some inspiration for this column. At first, I was careen­ing from study to study I have been reading since Jan. 1 regarding health care and the current system’s sustainability, but not really finding a good nugget to work with.

That was followed by random thoughts from a couple of meetings regarding the NOVO Health website and a subsequent thought about marketing messages, innovation and early adopters when it hit me — there is an old political adage I could use.

The quote: “Those who get on the bandwagon first get good jobs. Everyone else gets good government.”

Former Gov. Huey Long often gets credit for the saying, and it does seem like something the less-than-straight-arrow Louisiana politician would say, though I can find no reference to it in collections of his quotes. But it does aptly describe a trend in health care and yes, it is a positive one.

How’s that? It starts with recognizing the state of employer sponsored health care: unsustainable does not seem strong enough a word to describe it. With combined employer/employee costs topping $20K, several major studies and research projects suggested/advocated 2020 as the year employers finally take to the offensive and demand change.

Ah, but change is hard, especially when you are talking about your employees’ health care. We are still very much in the innovator and early adopter stages of the that transformation. That is where the old political serves as a model for a new reality: Those who innovate and adopt early will save money and change health care forever. Everyone else will get affordable, sustainable health care.

It doesn’t have quite the same resonance, but it is so true. Indeed, one of those early adopters we have had the privilege of working with is mentioned in this month’s NOVO Live (page 9). Brakebush Brothers has received a national award for its program, which includes using NOVO Health, to control health care costs.

We are seeing that innovation in other areas as well. Many of our partners have enjoyed tremendous success in both outcomes and savings through the NOVO Health Bundled Payment Program, perhaps our best known. But many of our partners are also taking advantage of onsite and near-site clinic and wellness programs to give employees even greater tools for managing their health (see this month’s cover story, page 12).

As costs continue to escalate, it’s time to join the innovators and early adopters and create a socially responsible and sustainable health care model. You will be healthier and your community will as well.

It’s time to jump on the bandwagon.