Recently I attended the 19th Population Health Colloquium in Philadelphia PA. The conference is an annual event and brings together leaders from the Population Health world to learn, network and share ideas on issues impacting the health of the population. The format is basically the same every year – because it works.

The focus of the Colloquium can be summed up in this quote by Andrew Weil, Health Affairs: “There is recognition that the patient (consumer, the member ) is co-producer of the outcomes for which the physician (and all of us) are now being held accountable.” Topics covered focused on:

  • Patients are driving healthcare
  • Patient engagement is key to improving outcomes
  • If we are not engaging patients, we will lose them to a competitor
  • Impact of social determinants of health as barriers to the population’s health
  • WE, healthcare professionals, need to learn to meet healthcare consumers where they are.
  • We have to recognize that the healthcare consumer is at the center of all that we do and WE have to work to understand how we can help them achieve wellness/prevent illness and manage chronic conditions.

Healthcare professionals need to make sure care is provided at the right time, with the right treatment in the least restrictive setting. People who enter healthcare need help to understand their conditions, have access to care and learn about the resources available to help prevent disease and manage their conditions. Doing this as a team is critical to the success of any program.

Day one opened with pre-conference programming. The main program started at 1 pm with Dr. David Nash, the Dean of the School of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University welcoming over 700 attendees. As has been his tradition, he kicked off the Colloquium with his top 12 Dirty Dozen happenings since the last Conference and what we can hope to see going forward. Here is this year’s list in no particular order.

  • The rise of the consumer: whatever business model sustains them is the center and where population health must go. Home Health, Telehealth, wearables, focus on patient-centered care.
  • The growth of Medicare Advantage and Managed Medicaid HMO. Two programs are working as they deliver value. They provide quality care. Follows the Population Health mantra: “No income without outcomes.”
  • Tax reform today is threatening social payment for healthcare services in the very near future. We have to control healthcare spending.
  • Precisions medicine and population health and in the limelight as they are linked.
  • Deal-making will continue uninterrupted: Examples: Cigna/Express Scripts, CVS/AETNA, United and DaVita, Humana/Kindred, HAVEN
  • Local delivery consolidation will continue – Jefferson Health is an excellent example of this. Will they deliver value? Will they achieve synergies as we would in the for-profit sector?
  • Health Information Technology…what a journey it’s been. Can the systems create the patient registry information, close the feedback loop? Give the healthcare team the information they need to do their work and improve care? Can they give us actionable data
  • The rise of Population Health Intelligence or predictive analytics. We want healthcare professionals who can glean useable information they need to made decisions.
  • Pharmaceutical industry disruption….Pharma is under the thumb of consumers. It’s all about price, price, and price. We have to have a way to rationalize, not ration the pricing system. If we don’t, we will have price controls!
  • More venture capital money: more private sector money is coming into the healthcare industry, and it will continue. When there is a trillion dollars of waste in an industry, it’s ripe for venture capitalists
  • Workforce Development for the entire industry: teaching the workforce to address today’s problems
  • Bryce Harper will bring the Philadelphia Phillies a pennant for the fee he is being paid!

Sessions were interesting, and I was able to tweet out from the auditorium useful information for followers to use. To view the agenda for the three days, click here.

Another highlight of the conference is the announcement of the finalist of the 4th Annual Hearst Awards. This recognizes those companies doing important work in the area of Population Health. This year the finalists were: (click on the name of the organization to learn more)

University of Alabama Medicate Science University of Arkansas Stoke Program

Yale University: MOMS Partnership in Pregnancy and Mental Health

Sharps Transition Program

The winner of the 4th Annual Hearts Award was: Sharps Transition Program.  The $100,000 annual award is given in recognition of outstanding achievement in managing or improving population health.

Social Determinants and patient engagement were key topics discussed over the three days of the conference. As a case management leader, I was struck by how intertwined case management was into helping organizations meet the complex needs that our patients bring to us.

The Exhibit Hall was also rich with resources and tools to help professionals do their work. I had a great time walking around, meeting people from organizations who are doing important work in this area. Still working on follow-up! Here is a list of the sponsors from this year’s event.

To end the program, Dr. Nash brings three leaders together to wrap up the colloquium. This year, the panel consisted of David K. Nace, Chief Medical Officer, Innovaccer, Rita Numerof, President, Numerof & Associates, Inc. and Mandy Mangat, Chief Medical Officer, Navvis Healthcare. Each shared important issues that are impacting the workforce, the tools we have to do our work and how they are being refined to help all healthcare professionals to do their work to improve the health of the people to promote quality care while slowing healthcare costs. Click on each of the companies to learn more about what they are doing and how they are changing how we work and the impact we make in population health.

As always I learned a lot and walked away with knowing that we have a lot of work to do to improve the delivery of care. I am looking forward to reviewing my notes, re-watching a few of the sessions and put into practice the information I gained to improve the work I do.

Looking forward to next year’s Colloquium which will be held March 30-April 1st. Till then, have a good year! If you missed this year’s event, you could purchase the entire conference on a flash drive by clicking here.


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