NEW YORK — While we are still in the nascent days of building a value-based delivery system, hospitals that are aggressively answering the call appear to be showing pretty strong dividends for their investments.
Baylor Scott & White, for instance, saw readmissions drop 15 percent over two years within its employee health plan in North Texas due largely to efforts by the Baylor Scott & White Quality Alliance — a clinician-led enterprise that aims to improve care coordination. Speaking at the 16th annual Not-for-Profit Health Care Investor Conference yesterday, Gary Brock, president and chief operating officer of the North Texas division, said that quality and population health efforts yielded $21 million in savings.
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All of the executives presenting at this meeting, which is sponsored by Citi, the American Hospital Association and the Healthcare Financial Management Association, detailed their efforts to advance population health management strategies. Universally, they said that they couldn’t afford to sit on their heels as the world rapidly changes.
“We are striving to be the disrupters, not to be disrupted,” said Joel Allison, CEO of Baylor Scott & White, adding that the organization is “all in on population health.”
Even at institutions that don’t posses the enviable balance sheets of an Ascension or Advocate Health Care, population health is seen as a necessary investment. Leaders from Temple University Health System, located in the heart of Philadelphia and challenged to meet the needs of a high-acuity patient base, described how they’ve instituted a variety of population health initiatives aimed at better connecting with patients and advancing healthier outcomes. Among the strategies: care management and risk stratification, medical neighborhoods, network alliances and partnerships and a robust health IT system.
I had the chance to catch up with Charles Kennedy, M.D., chief population health officer, Healthagen, a subsidiary of insurance company Aetna, who offered his perspective on how providers and insurers can effectively move closer to population health management.
The other key theme of this years’ meeting: consumerism. In fact, “consumer” was mentioned more than “patient.” Many of the executives talked about the need to meet consumers where they are, rather than continuing a model that forces them to adjust to the provider.
In a report issued in conjunction with the meeting, Moody’s Investor Services noted that not-for-profit hospitals that “excel at providing convenient care, high-quality customer service” and demonstrate value will earn patient loyalty and improve market share.
The ultimate goal though seems to be better patient engagement and participation in managing their health.
“None of this will work without patient engagement,” said Emme Deland, senior vice president of strategy, New York-Presbyterian Hospital.