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8 Stories on the Importance of Population Health

Published on 7/11/2018
Throughout the world today, we are celebrating World Population Day, an opportunity to focus our collective attention on the importance of population issues. For years, population health has focused on connecting traditional health care settings and the overall health continuum with advanced information about a person’s lifestyle. 

Population health platforms can empower individuals to make better decisions and form habits that advance the health and improve the quality of life for individuals across the globe. In honor of World Population Day, here are eight stories on how population health management platforms have the ability to improve outcomes for entire communities.

1. How one community got healthy in 5 years 

JD Kehrman, City Manager, City of Nevada
Kelly Ast, Community Manager, City of Nevada

In 2012, community organizers and local government officials came together to launch Healthy Nevada, a program aimed at improving personal accountability for health by leveraging a holistic population health model for prevention and well-being. In this blog, JD Kehrman and Kelly Ast explain how Healthy Nevada’s populations health management strategy is helping individuals and families engage in their wellness and commit to living healthier lives.

 “If Healthy Nevada has been successful, it's because the community has embraced ownership of it. We've changed the culture here. This project has changed the way this community thinks about itself and its opportunities and its health.” – JD Kehrman, City Manager, City of Nevada

2. How social determinants influence population health outcomes

Dr. Tanuj Gupta, Senior Director & Physician Executive

Environmental, economic, geographic and social factors all impact the health of an individual. Nearly health care organization employs clinicians and social workers who are passionate about using social determinants to influence population health outcomes. In this blog, Dr. Tanuj Gupta takes a deeper look at how care teams are shaping preventative care plans by considering these determinants on a large-scale.

“Health care is a team effort – it always has been. The idea of social determinants is also not new – public health organizations have been thinking about this for a long time. What's exciting about the evolution we are going through within our country's health care industry is that the incentives are finally catching up. The ‘team’ dedicated to keeping our population healthy is getting larger, and the innovative thinking in health care is getting stronger.” – Dr. Tanuj Gupta, senior director and physician executive

3. Pilot program helps improve health of Salina, Kansas Medicaid population 

A pilot project in Salina, Kansas aimed to promote healthier and more active lifestyles by using targeted data that focused on eligible Medicaid beneficiaries. Health teams throughout the city administered labs and biometric screenings, offered health coaching services and provided resources for health improvement education. By the program’s end in July 2016, the group had self-reported an 11 percent increase in moderate or vigorous physical activity.

“The pilot program identified effective ways to improve the health and engagement of those in the Kansas Medicaid program.” – Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer

4. CHOC's Dr. William Feaster on the intersection of AI and population health 

Dr. William Feaster, Chief Medical Information Officer, Children’s Hospital of Orange County

Dr. William Feaster has more than four decades of experience in information technology and population health management. On this podcast episode, Dr. Feaster considers how AI has made an impact on the health of communities by analyzing large patient data sets to help clinicians make better, more educated decisions when caring for their patients.

“We are beginning to develop use of artificial intelligence in the background of our analytic database to determine what the significant triggers are for any one patient or a group of patients.” – Dr. William Feaster, chief medical information officer at Children’s Hospital of Orange County

5. Virtual pharmacist provides cost-effective way to promote quality care 

Tasked with working with clinicians from more than 60 locations throughout the state, pharmacists at the University of Missouri Health Care (MU Health Care) launched a virtual pharmacy program, named ViPRx, in early 2016. This innovative use of HealtheRegistries promoted transparency and cut costs by using one centralized pharmacy that provided its services to ambulatory clinics virtually. The program also uniquely enhanced diabetic care in Missouri by making prescription recommendations that aimed to improve diabetic indicators.

“We wanted to make the program scalable and look at it over a long term. We’re not creating a program designed for today without thinking about tomorrow.” –  Brad Myers, director of pharmacy, MU Health Care

Watch more: MU Health Care virtual pharmacist provides cost-effective way to promote quality care

6. Community care programs leading the way for population health 

Rachelle Schultz, President and CEO, Winona Health

In 2013, Winona Health, an independent, nonprofit community-owned health care system in Winona, Minnesota, launched the Community Care Network (CCN). CCN is a psychosocial preventative model that empower individuals to manage their health and well-being by employing a multidisciplinary team of health care providers and clinical staff, including social workers, dieticians, physical therapists and student health coaches. What started out as an experiment turned into an innovative model that listened to patients in order to improve care processes throughout the Winona community.

“As we have done this work, we have gotten a lot closer to the consumer. We are learning how to walk in our patients’ shoes, and that is clearly redefining how we deliver care.” – Rachelle Schultz, President and CEO, Winona Health

7. The YMCA's Dr. Daphne Bascom on community-integrated health programs

Dr. Daphne Bascom, Senior Vice President & Medical Director, YMCA of Greater Kansas City

At the YMCA of Greater Kansas City, Dr. Daphne Bascom has led community-integrated health programs that combine traditional health care practices and community-based prevention in an effort to help populations or live better with chronic conditions. In addition to her role at the YMCA, Dr. Bascom serves as a professor in the Department of Biomedical and Health Informatics at the University of Missouri - Kansas City School of Medicine. On this podcast episode, she discusses how population health programs have reshaped the way we think about the health of the whole person and whole communities.

“If you’re thinking about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, food, water and shelter comes first. For most people, if they are struggling to address some of those basic social determinants, it makes it harder for them to address other aspects of their well-being that we think are important. We need to go lower down in that hierarchy and make sure we’re addressing factors that are potential challenges to getting health and staying healthy, both on the family level and the community level.” – Daphne Bascom, senior vice president and medical director at YMCA of Greater Kansas City 

8. Portal success leads to more than 20 million page views at Virginia Mason 

By implementing a patient portal, leaders at Virginia Mason, a private, non-profit organization located in Seattle, Washington, have created a simpler and more efficient way to manage care for patients and providers alike. Clinicians collaborated to design and implement a portal that eased the burden of reporting patient results, ultimately receiving more than 685,000 inbound and outbound messages during the first seven months of 2017.

“Our vision is the patient ultimately owns their health record and is able to access it anywhere, any place. Moving forward, our goal is for patients to become active contributors to their health record, with input in their health goals, the ability to express concerns and health data presented to them in a structured manner such that we not only care for individuals, but also learn about how to better engage with and manage care for our entire population.” –  Norris Kamo, MD, primary care internist and section head of adult primary care clinic, Virginia Mason University Village Medical Center

At Cerner, we're focused on connecting traditional venues, the health continuum and advanced information about a person's lifestyle to empower individuals in their health and care. Learn more about our population health management solutions.