Posts Tagged ‘population health improvement’

Screen Shot 2016-03-14 at 3.18.40 PMIf you’re not actively involved in promoting and supporting population health management programs today, you most likely will be in the near future. The day will soon come when healthcare marketers work to develop communication programs that help keep patients out of the hospital while connecting them to ongoing care resources. Trust me, it is coming. For many of you, that day has already arrived.

As evidence of this movement (as if you needed evidence), Duke University School of Medicine has announced the launch of its new Center for Population Health Sciences in the School of Medicine. The center will be led by Lesley Curtis, PhD, professor in the Department of Medicine and director of the Center for Pragmatic Health Services Research in the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI).

According to the announcement, posted on the Duke School of Medicine Blog:

“The goal of the Center for Population Health Sciences is to identify determinants of health and the most effective means for improving health. This multi-disciplinary center will comprise faculty members from a variety of disciplines including epidemiology, health services research and policy, health economics, health measurement and behavior, and implementation science who share an interest in answering complex questions about the drivers of health in populations. The center will foster active collaborations with the Duke Margolis Center for Health Policy, the Duke Global Health Institute, the Center for Community and Population Health Improvement, the Duke Clinical Research Institute, the Duke University Health System, and other entities engaged in the science of population health. “

Along with the Center’s research initiatives, there are plans for the development of new educational programs including a post-graduate certificate program in Population Health Sciences and Master and PhD programs in Population Health Sciences. From my perspective, these educational programs are absolutely necessary if we are going to adapt successfully to the new reality within healthcare. The next generation of clinicians need to understand that successfully addressing population health involves taking on the social determinants of health – and that can’t be done entirely within the walls of the hospital or medical office. As I’ve mentioned in past blog posts, to improve the health of various populations, health systems are going to have to partner effectively with public health and community organizations. Health systems will be challenged address food deserts, safe housing, violence and lack of transportation – all factors that impact health. By collaborating with community organizations, we can help to identify and address those upstream determinants of health.

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Recently I found a great article on StakeHolderHealth.org where Dr. Denise Koo of the CDC is interviewed about the soon to be launched Community Health Improvement Navigator Website. I have the pleasure of working with Dr. Koo on a project (she’s on the steering committee for A Practical Playbook; I serve on the marketing communications subcommittee), and have a great deal of respect for her. From my perspective, her vision of what is necessary to create population health improvement is spot on. According to Dr. Koo:

“Health is affected by more than just healthcare. Where we work, live, study and play has a greater effect on our health than does the short time we spend in the healthcare system. We need a multipronged, multi-partner approach. We recognize the complexity of tackling health (not solely healthcare) and want to support hospitals and their partners in solving this problem together.” (Stakeholderhealth.org interview)

As I’ve said many times of late, we’re not going to solve population health challenges in the physician’s office alone. Hospitals, health systems and clinicians are part of the solution. But to battle the prevalence of chronic disease in our communities, we need a collaborative approach that brings together clinicians, public health professionals, and community organizations. Yes, I drank the Kool-Aid.

As the CDC prepare to launch its Community Health Improvement Navigator website, it has created an Infographic that provides the What, Who, Where, and How of community health improvement. For many of us who work on the hospital/health system side of things, it is important to acknowledge that the answer to creating healthier communities lies outside the walls of our hospitals and outpatient facilities. We’ve got to work collaboratively with groups in our communities to address the social determinants of health within the region.

Check out the CDC’s infographic below. (click on the infographic below to see an enlarged version.)


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