Category: Population Health
November 23 2015
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I have the opportunity to work with many great health care organizations across the world, helping them develop and execute population health strategies. These organizations vary in size and type, from large mature IDNs to small community-based organizations and everything in-between. I value and appreciate the perspective this provides me as we continue to develop as strategic consultants for our clients.

One of those perspectives is how the Triple Aim continues to come into focus for these organizations. Each organization and market presents its own unique perspectives and challenges. However, when I visit with senior leadership teams and we discuss what success looks like, inevitably the Triple Aim is evoked. The universal agreement that health care spend is on an unsustainable trajectory is a problem that needs solving without compromising quality of care. The idea of shifting to a consumer-driven market that encourages accountability has become commonplace. The Triple Aim provides a great starting point and framework for developing a strategy and value plan. However, chartering and empowering the organization appropriately requires the ability to connect future work to the Triple Aim.

Population health requires transformation. And it isn’t the same kind of transformation we are accustomed to when moving from paper to electronic medical records. Population health often requires the engineering of net new practices and workflows – the care architecture: the way care is delivered and managed across the continuum; the business model: the way health and care are paid for; how people, persons and patients (P3) are engaged in both health and care. This kind of transformation requires an activated leadership team and workforce. Everyone has to be able to see the connection between the change that they are enduring and how it supports the vision and mission of their organization.

We have created an approach that helps facilitate the process of creating the connection. We call it the taxonomy of value. The process allows for the capture of insights at any level and the exercise of creating the connectedness necessary to support and drive the transformation. The product of this facilitated process is a crisply articulated contextual translation of how the Triple Aim reveals itself within that organization. It becomes the basis for inspiring and empowering the transformational work at hand.

We often talk about population health strategy as a journey. There are several paths that organizations may take based on their unique dynamics. Organizations are at different points along that journey, but the destination is the same. I have two favorite quotes from Andy Stanley, “Direction (not intention) determines destination,” and “Attention determines direction.” I share this with my client leadership teams because sometimes population health feels like the “other” thing we are doing now.

It is understandable why that is the case, given that business models are still heavily weighted toward the traditional payment methodologies and many organizations are just formally starting their journeys. But, I can’t emphasize enough the significance of leadership teams spending time (attention) to mature and communicate strategy (the destination) so that their very able and talented associates are empowered to champion the journey and take on the hurdles along the way. I have seen organizations struggle without this very important guidance and have witnessed the status quo win out every time without it.

The taxonomy of value is just a glimpse into the process of creating clarity, focus and inspiration around population health. We are constantly innovating and moving toward a more connected health care environment focused on a person’s care AND health, experience and positive outcomes, and cost efficiency.

About the Institute for Healthcare Improvement

The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) is a well-respected, global organization that developed the ‘Triple Aim’ concept. Cerner will participate in IHI’s 27th Annual National Forum on Quality Improvement in Healthcare, Dec. 6 – 9 in Orlando, at Booth No. 1101. The conference brings together 6,000 health care professionals each year and focuses on quality and safety.

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