Population Health Management
The notion of working to improve a population’s awareness of wellness and disease is not new. For decades we have sought to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease, including reduced smoking rates, early detection for cancers, and decrease obesity (not to mention containing healthcare costs) But with improving data capabilities, interoperability between EMR’s and data systems, changing laws, and an over-arching goal of improving the general health and wellness of our population we are beginning to see ever-greater emphasis on population health management as a strategy to both contain costs and improve outcomes. Check out this week’s episode to learn more about how your company can save long-term costs while at the same time improving quality- and length of life to their employees.
As a health strategy, population health management focuses heavily on preventive care measures, coupled with making such care delivery as convenient as possible for the population involved. Additionally, procedures around work place injuries are assessed and if needed, modified to include triage that can prevent the use of ER to initiate care when such injuries/exposures occur.
We talked about how Dekalb Medical restructured their approach to their own employees’ wellness and work place injuries, successfully reducing their spend on high cost claims, ER visits, and work place injuries. They are now collaborating with businesses in the community to collaborate with them to improve the wellness/safety of their respective employees and helping them achieve the same sort of cost savings on health/risk in their enterprises. These efforts are steadily improving the aggregate health of the Dekalb Medical catchment area patients through more consistent, integrated delivery of preventive/wellness-focused care.
Dekalb Medical, a long-standing pillar of the Atlanta health systems, serving the eastern half of the metro, has proven to be an innovator and thought leaders in the concept of population health management. After a multi-year effort to reduce cost and improve outcomes for their own ~4000 employees, including decreasing work-place accidents and ER visits, they have an impressive list of successes to talk about.
And as a well-established health system with the full complement of services from acute to tertiary, diagnostic and procedural services available, Dekalb Medical is uniquely positioned to exert positive effects on the health of the large metropolitan population they serve.
About DeKalb Medical
Founded in 1961, DeKalb Regional Health System, Inc., known as DeKalb Medical, is comprised of more than 800 doctors skilled in 55 medical specialties across three campuses. The 627-bed system includes DeKalb Medical at North Decatur (451 beds), DeKalb Medical Long Term Acute Care at Downtown Decatur (77 beds), DeKalb Medical at Hillandale (100 beds), DeKalb Medical Physicians Group and the DeKalb Medical Foundation.
This week Diana Keough and I sat down with Dr. Shealynn Buck and Jim Forstner from the health system. We talked about population health management as a concept and how it was put to work as a strategy to the benefit of both its employees and the bottom line of the organization.
Dekalb Medical is now providing similar population health management services to employers within their catchment area around the east perimeter of Atlanta and beyond. They are engaging employers’ employees through gameficiation, on-site services, consulting regarding workplace safety, narrow network benefits that save costs and improve outcomes, and more. We talked about how the notion of population health management is a move from transactional, disease-focused care to a relational, wellness-focused model and how that can save both money and improve lives of employees. We also discussed some positive unintended consequences that can come through offering such a health initiative to an employee population.
The not-for-profit health care system is a HealthGrades® Five-Star Recipient for Treatment of Heart Attack in 2013 and Five-Star Recipient for Peripheral Vascular Bypass in 2012, and earned the Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke Silver Quality Achievement Award from the American Heart/American Stroke Association. Their Maternity Center was selected as a participant in the Best Fed Beginnings project as part of UNICEF/WHO’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative. The Dekalb Medical Cancer Center received the Outstanding Achievement Award and is granted three-year approval by The Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons as a community hospital comprehensive oncology program. Their Joint Solutions Center is a metro Atlanta leader in joint replacement.
In addition, The Dekalb Medical LTAC earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® for acquired brain injury, wound care and respiratory failure services. Their WorksWell® program is dedicated to supporting employers with solutions to maximize the health, safety and well-being of their employees while improving performance and the bottom line.
- Doctor of Medicine, Emory University School of Medicine
- Residency, Pathology, Emory University School of Medicine
- Fellow, Transfusion Medicine and Cellular Therapies
- Former Assistant Medical Director, American Red Cross
Jim Forstner, SVP & Senior Strategy Officer of Dekalb Medical
- >10 years service on Dekalb Medical executive team
- Previous Executive Director for Contracting, Physician and Ambulatory Ventures, Dekalb Medical
- Previous Director, Patient Financial Services, Dekalb Medical