By Jamie Martin, Marketing & Communications Manager
There’s nothing like a HIMSS event to get you pumped up about the value and potential of health IT, and this week’s Pop Health Forum in Chicago was no exception – and not just because our Chief Technology Officer Brian Richmond and I were among the presenters.
The Pop Health Forum promised – and delivered – a deep dive into data and analytics, care coordination and patient engagement, the three primary pillars of any successful population health strategy. Brian and I were privileged to be among the many outstanding speakers at the Pop Health Forum, and we were excited by the positive response to our presentation of Louisiana’s successful efforts to reduce avoidable ED utilization and increase patient engagement.
But we were even more excited by the opportunity to learn about other successful population health strategies currently underway across the country. Among my personal favorites:
- Michael Adcock, FACHE, Administrator of the University of Mississippi Medical Center’s Center for Telehealth, provided an incredible case study on remote patient monitoring (RPM) in rural Mississippi. With one of the highest national rates of diabetes among adults, Mississippi spent $2.74 billion in 2012 on diabetic medical expenses. To address the issue, the telehealth center developed and launched an RPM strategy that provided daily health sessions, targeted education, behavior modification, personalized interventions and health coach services directly to the patient via iPads. The program was so successful that the first 100 patients to enroll marked a decrease of 1.7 percent in HbA1c and a 96 percent increase in medication adherence. Beyond that, those patients lost a combined total of 91 pounds, were not hospitalized or seen in an ER for diabetes even one time and saved a total of 9,454 miles. Impressive results, and Adcock did a fantastic job of presenting them to a very attentive audience!
- Adrian Zai, MD, PhD, MPH, Clinical Director of Population Informatics at Massachusetts General Hospital, did a fantastic job of describing the challenges related to population health across the stakeholder spectrum, from payers to operations, and provided an excellent case study of how MGH and Partners HealthCare addressed those barriers. By implementing a strategy that eliminated “sources of inertia and excuses” and cost only $7 per patient, said Zai, the results were 76 lives saved, $3.2 million in treatments avoided and a savings of $20 per patient. Incredible presentation of incredible results!
Of course, there were many other great presentations (there always are when it’s a HIMSS event), but the thread that tied them all together was clear: we truly can make meaningful, lasting improvements in population health. Perhaps the strategies we employ to make these improvements begin with small steps, but even the smallest of steps can take us somewhere new.