Freed Associates

2015 HTF Innovation Conference: Freed Panelist Joins Population Health Management Discussion

TOPIC: Events

At the Health Technology Forum’s (HTF) 2015 Innovation Conference in San Francisco, attendees gathered to discuss current and ongoing challenges at the Population Health Management panel sponsored by Freed Associates. Panelists discussed key drivers of transformative care delivery and the innovative business models and strategies required to support various population-based needs in today’s market.

Freed Associates’ Consultant Susan Merrill, Ph.D. was one of three participants on the panel, “Transforming Your Organization to Support Population Health Management,” which was moderated by Sia Zadeh, Regional VP of Sandlot Solutions.

Panel questions focused on ideas and issues that are propelling strategic planning discussions today on both a domestic and international level:

  1. How do organizations define population health?

  2. What are the key drivers of transformative care delivery and the business models that support them?What innovative intervention strategies have been designed / implemented for various population needs?

  3. What innovative intervention strategies have been designed / implemented for various population needs?

  4. What is the role of analytics? What tools, skills, and processes need to be in place?What are the challenges organizations face in managing populations?

  5. What are the challenges organizations face in managing populations?

Weighing In On Population Health Challenges And Goals

Susan Merrill and panel participants Aimee Leidich (UCSF Global Health Sciences Program Manager) and Amanda Goltz (Aetna’s Director of Product Strategy and Innovation) represented viewpoints from various sectors of the healthcare industry – provider, employer, payer, and supplier.

Aimee Leidich discussed the importance of population stratification and refined data collection, using examples from UCSF’s innovative work in rural Africa. Amanda Goltz shared how large, self-insured companies can help balance risk with new employee wellness programs, and also promoted the benefits of joint ACO ventures.

Susan Merrill shared the concerns of multiple California ACOs, medical groups, and health system clients by expressing the sentiment that “there is little to no consensus on a population health strategy, although we have realized we need it.” She went on to outline suggestions and solutions for formulating the key components of a global strategy.

A suggestion for ACO clients was to focus more attention on care model design, as the majority of client resources today are devoted to financial strategies related to mitigating population-based risk. Increasing patient involvement is a hot topic with “clients are often asking, ‘What is the role of the patient? How do we engage them? How do we deliver messages to a patient on the appropriate levels?’ The strategy here is to ask patients how they want to be communicated with…content must be simple and tailored to the context of a patient’s life.”

Susan also addressed some of the important operational questions that clients are asking, including how to better utilize and leverage their current tools and technologies, address data quality issues and staff their care management teams. “Within EHRs, social determinants of health are not captured systematically, for example access to food and transportation. Case Management must address these issues, though the challenge is that there is [currently] no software to do it.”

Healthcare organizations have the opportunity to develop a strategic plan centered on population health, that assesses critical gaps in data utilization and creates new models of care management that are inclusive of all participants sharing in risks/rewards: insurers, providers, and community-based organizations.

Future Population Health Management Strategies Must Be All-Inclusive

In closing, moderator Sia Zadeh acknowledged the population health challenges that many organizations must consider. In order to be successful, global enterprise strategies must incorporate the many different aspects of population health such as high risk populations, chronic disease management, social determinants of health, new models for payment, and health and wellness models.