Highlight from the CHSM population health monthly meeting

On Friday, Colorado Healthcare Management and Strategy (CHSM) hosted one of their monthly meetings to discuss topical issues in the health care market. This month a panel of experts discussed approaches to addressing population health from a variety of perspectives. 

 

Thepanel was moderated by Jeff Bontrager, Director of Research and Evaluation at the Colorado Health Institute. Krista Beckwith, Senior Director of Population Health and Quality at Colorado Access, Roberta Capp, MD, Medical Director of Care Transitions and Clinical Program Development at UC Health, John Douglas, MD, Executive Director at Tri-County Health Department, and AJ Diamontopoulos, Accountable Health Communities Project Manager from the Denver Regional Council of Governments rounded out the panel. 

Panel discussions began with definitions of population health and determining how the many silos of health care approach the concept. The importance of both a social and economic lens when creating value-based care was a critical aspect. Panelists discussed that while health care has approached care from an individual level, new approaches should focus on community. 

 

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Bontrager pushed the panelists to distinguish between public health and population health. Dr. Douglas explained that from his perspective, more entities are able to find space to think about their community under the population health umbrella. Public health, he suggested, is more of a statutory government enterprise. 

Population health is a major topic of conversation in the market. Panelists were asked to discuss whether the term will be used in 10 years. Diamontopoulos commented that the term is all the rage at the moment but the problem is that it is really hard to define. Beckwith agreed, but suggested that the definition of population health will become much more narrow. 

While population health is a critical aspect of community-based health care, panelists agreed that there are a number of challenges in creating these community partnerships. Compliance at the community level is very difficult and alignment is a critical challenge as well. Funding is also a big challenge. Marrying the cost-savings to population health is difficult because it is currently not part of the process, panelists agreed. 

Moving forward, panelists suggested that there is a desperate need for additional data to determine how rural and mountain communities can be impacted by population health. Sharing data between communities can also improve outcomes as well. The need for community cohesion was also mentioned as an important aspect of improving population health efforts.