Innovative Healthcare Teams Updates

IH Teams at Population Health Academy

Dr. David Nash, Dean of Population Health at Jefferson College of Population Health joining Dave and Michelle at a networking function during the Jefferson Population Health Academy in late July 2015.  Valuable and insightful information shared during the 5-Day academy!  Plan to attend.  You will be very well informed regarding the details of Population Health.

Dave and Michelle, representing Innovative Healthcare Teams, attended the Population Health Academy at Jefferson College of Population Health. In addition to the College’s renowned faculty, the Academy also brought in nationally recognized leaders to lead an interactive 5-day course that provided a broad foundation of understanding of Population Health.

The course began with an evolutionary perspective of health care from the early 1900’s to the present. The Jefferson College of Population Health faculty member outlined an historical correlation to the current health care reform. The health care industry has been dealing with some of the same issues throughout the last century. Dr. Drew Harris, also a Jefferson faculty member, led the agenda for the second day, which began with a comprehensive discussion of defining Population Health in today’s market and then drew the relationship between this definition and the Affordable Care Act.

Day 3 was packed with topics with three speakers presenting on Quality & Safety; Health Economics & Population Health; and, Lessons Learned from Launching an ACO. Dr. James Pelegano, a faculty member and pediatrician, led a robust discussion about quality and safety. He engaged the audience to define quality; why quality is important; how quality is important to customers; then moving to defining various levels of harm. Dr. Pelgano provided excellent examples of the frequency of errors currently occurring throughout health care and compared them to the airline industry, which served to accentuate the need for significantly improved quality and safety. He made the point was that it is clear an industry-wide culture shift is necessary to address the current issues that are bringing unnecessary harm to our patients. Throughout the day, we identified the stakeholders who are required to be invested in the culture shift. Additionally, we must change how we measure quality and safety in the Population Health environment.

Rob Lieberthal, PhD, a faculty member and an expert in financial analysis, provided an interesting, yes interesting, presentation on the topic of Health Economics & Population Health. The first group exercise covered the economics of a theoretical shared risk agreement with an ACO in the context of understanding and evaluating levels of risk and return. Dr. Lieberthal reviewed the foundation of shared savings, which occurs when inefficiencies are identified and a strategy developed to avoid them such that meaningful benefits accrue to partners and patients. The payment environment that exists in healthcare today does not easily support pay for value. So, there is potential for large savings for providers and payers who are able to identify inefficiencies and innovate processes of care.

The topic for the final presentation on Day 3 was from Ann Marks, RN and Director, Care Coordination for the Delaware Valley ACO. Ms. Marks reviewed early issues and victories of the launch of an ACO, which included five member health systems. This was an excellent example of collaboration by five unrelated entities to work toward managing the health of a large (70,000 covered lives) and growing population in the Greater Philadelphia area. The ACO created synergies that made the ACO greater than the sum of the individual members. Ms. Marks reviewed the early strategy of moving quickly to continuously evaluate and address needs of the population. Early evaluations included understanding their strengths, developing a standard care model, and understanding what could be achieved early in the ACO’s operations. The two most important factors were engaging the physicians and measuring the best metrics for success. In just over a year, this ACO was experiencing early success and created a healthy momentum for continued success.

Day 4 was filled with a lively presentation by Harm Scherpbier, MD, MS, the Chief Medical Information Officer at Main Line Health and Lecturer at Thomas Jefferson College of Population Health. Dr. Scherpbier detailed the need for data analysis and its use for strategic and operational decision making, particularly in the environment of Population Health, ACO’s and Patient Centered Medical Homes. He discussed structuring data sets in support of population health as well as the challenges and obstacles in the data analytics. Dr. Scherpbier helped us understand how to find solutions or approaches to help overcome these challenges.

Day 5, they saved the best for last!! The last day of the Academy was dedicated to Dr. Raymond Fabius, a nationally regarded expert in population health. Dr. Fabius took on the role of “Putting it all together” for the attendees. He started with a definition of population health as part of a larger Culture of Health. Whether it belongs in the category of clinical medicine or public health its innovative results impact the health of the entire population. The discussion moved to health interventions, determinants of health and health status. One example he gave of health interventions was the seatbelt laws that once enacted reduced fatalities significantly as use of seatbelts increased. A second example was the impact of increasing the price of a pack of cigarettes and the direct correlation to the decreased use of tobacco. On the topic of health determinants, there are at least ten, some of which include physical, education, employment and working conditions, income and social status. Dr. Fabius stated that lifestyle is the largest determinant of health.

Dr. Fabius gave a definition of Population Health: “Population health includes a health care delivery approach that addresses the underuse and overuse of health care resources, seeking increased clinical quality.” The health care industry has to provide patient-centered care that includes patients and their families in shared decision-making, which promotes patient engagement. A few of the component parts of Population Health are Patient-centered care, Shared Decision Making, Patient Centered Medical Home, etc. There is empirical evidence through research that supports the positive impact many of these initiatives that drive Population Health initiatives.

Dr. Fabius shared so much more information of significant value than can be included here. The Innovative Healthcare Teams of Dave and Michelle strongly recommend attending this course as you endeavor to engage in true Population Health.