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Key Components to Fortifying Population Health

By Julie Auton  
   April 01, 2018

By applying data, testing new approaches, and establishing community partnerships, you can bolster patient outcomes.

This article first appeared in the March/April 2018 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

The dilemma of keeping patients healthy beyond the hospital walls often means that healthcare leaders must shift their organizations into a vulnerable and uncomfortable space that involves taking risk, partnering with outside organizations, experimenting with new ideas, and being willing to fail in order to learn.

Fifty healthcare executives in executive, clinical, and information technology arenas gathered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, last summer at the HealthLeaders Media Population Health Exchange to discuss their approaches for delivering comprehensive care to diverse populations.

Ideas that surfaced during the discussion to drive quality, reduce cost, and improve the overall health of the community included the following:

Base measurement on a source of truth

Achieving measurable improvement requires aligning disparate sectors within a healthcare system and with external partners via data.

"[Finding common ground] depends on getting agreement in terms of my data, our data, and their data—and what we're viewing as a source of truth," says Mac McClurkan, chief strategy officer at Oaklawn Hospital, a regional healthcare organization in Marshall, Michigan. "What is the data telling us, and how do we make those insights actionable?"

Determining and prioritizing the metrics by which an organization measures itself is how Allegheny Health Network (AHN), an integrated healthcare system based in Pittsburgh enhances patient care, such as lowering readmission rates.

Julie Auton is the leadership programs editor for HealthLeaders.


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