March 13, 2019
Women receive health care that is below par, and the consequences are unnecessary morbidity and death. It is fact, not fiction—borne out by significant data that reveal disparities across many major conditions—that inattention to women’s unique symptoms, risk factors, disease biology and treatment effects are causing harm to women. Despite the reality, a poor body of research exists to point women’s health in the right direction. Value-Based Health Care (VBHC) assumes that we can measure providers’ delivery of health care against clinical standards. What if we don’t even know how half the population exhibits disease or responds to therapies? At…Read More
March 6, 2019
If Not Now, It’s Too Late: Clinical Science Is Futile If We Study the Wrong Population
In 1936, the Literary Digest, a respected national magazine, undertook a public opinion poll. Who would win the race between Republican Alfred Landon, governor of Kansas, and Democratic incumbent Franklin D. Roosevelt? Mock ballots were mailed to 10 million Americans. About 2.4 million responded—one of the largest survey samples ever created. Their prediction? Landon would carry the day. They were wrong—by a landslide for FDR. That’s because respondents were biased toward Landon and did not accurately represent the distribution of presidential preferences across all voters. Notably, George Gallop accurately predicted FDR’s victory using a smaller representative sample of about 50,000…Read More
February 20, 2019
Providers, Take Note: Prepare for the Future Health Care of Older Women
Our review of women’s health care has called attention to disparities in risk factors and biological disease differences, treatment variances, and lack of adequate research. Gender and race have obscured perceptions of women’s symptoms, creating delays in diagnoses and treatments and even early death. A serious gap in gender-specific research and gender-analyzed data contributes to this profound lack of understanding of differential biology and treatment options. Even for conditions that are more specific to women, such as breast cancer and maternity, clinical care and research funding is heavy on front-end detection and prevention but fails to focus on women at…Read More
December 5, 2018
Should Value-Based Health Care Help Improve Life Expectancy?
As Americans in a highly developed and prosperous economy, we have ascribed a value to our highly sophisticated, expensive health care system—that it should enable us to achieve better health. If we didn’t believe in the value of our health care system, we would not support health coverage, most people would not visit health care providers, and the public health system would not get be funded. This may sound all too obvious, but it isn’t. Whether our health care system actually achieves that ascribed value of improving health status is now in question. Given last week’s release of Center for…Read More
November 28, 2018
Can ACO Population Health Solve Patient Engagement?
Personal attitudes inform our strategies for improving patient health. As ACOs move forward in Value-Based Health Care, attitudes about patients and providers set the stage for collaboration or conflict. And with ACOs taking on financial risk for patients, those attitudes and strategies can make the difference between success and failure. As we discussed in a previous post on the importance of involving physicians effectively in population health initiatives, alliances with physicians start with building trust and clinical leadership. Failure to do so will ultimately undercut both the ACO and their patients. So, too, must we be responsive to patients’ needs—not…Read More
November 14, 2018
How to Involve Physicians Effectively in ACO Population Health
In a recent post, we addressed the many types of population health initiatives and some guidelines for creating the most benefit. Now let’s take a closer look at one of those guidelines: integrating population health into regular or routine care of patients—specifically, with greater involvement and communication by the patients’ physicians. ACOs and their participating physicians have an opportunity to break with the historical obstacles between the physician’s employer organization and the physician, especially in hospital-directed ACOs. Even in physician-led ACOs, working seamlessly with physicians to achieve better health for ACO patients is key to achieving both quality and cost…Read More
October 31, 2018
ACO Population Health Best Practices: More Respect for Physicians and Patients
How important is it to agree on principles and best practices for population health? More important than most providers believe, and here’s why: Population health can be a powerful engine for improving patient outcomes and cost performance in Value-Based Health Care. Failure to create a standard of population health practices means that every ACO or health system scrambles independently to create initiatives, without the benefit of broader experience and results. The outcome? ACOs make similar decisions or duplicate others’ programs with meager results. They may also inadvertently consign population health to safer territory as administrative instead of strategic and innovative…Read More
March 14, 2018
Can Provider-Led ACOs and AAPMs Deliver Health Care Transformation?
“In times of rapid change, experience could be your worst enemy,” said J. Paul Getty. He might have been giving us advice on how to transform health care. We have reached the tipping point for broader adoption of ACOs and other Advanced Alternative Payment Models (AAPMs) to organize health care and payment under both Medicare and commercial insurance. But our recent experience cannot tell us whether these approaches will work. This, despite the fact that an estimated 10 percent of insured individuals—32 million people—were already covered by private and public ACO services in mid-2017. And we reached that point even…Read More
October 11, 2017
If Federal Policy Can’t Improve Health Care, What’s Next? 5 Trends to Track
Health care has been extraordinarily resistant to change. Escalating costs have been at issue since the early 1980s—think about it!—but continue to rise unabated. Ask anyone participating in the system, be they physicians or other health care providers, payers or patients, and you will be inundated with complaints about health care economics, outcomes or processes. If you ask most health care executives about the future, chances are you’ll be met with a shrug. The fact is, however, that an undercurrent of change is already beginning to transform health care. It is gaining momentum, but the health care system and providers…Read More
August 30, 2016
Personalized Medicine v Population Health: Opposites or Complements?
If personalized medical care is the goal, how does that fit with the concept of “population health,” the darling of the health care industry’s drive toward better results and lower costs? Are these two concepts really at odds, or do they work in tandem? This is not a rhetorical question; in the current environment of keeping costs under control, lives are at stake. How Personalized Medicine Should Work We know that best outcomes occur when individuals are appropriately assessed and allowed to make choices based on their personal characteristics. Personalized medicine is not a concept of averages; it is a…Read More