Healthcare's New Buzzword

Written by: Author: Wendy Phillips MS, RD, CNSC, CLE on March 27, 2017


All the buzz about Population Health Management

Have you heard of the new buzzword in healthcare, Population Health Management? Simply stated, Population Health Management is health promotion and disease prevention for an individual and those in their “population”: spouses or significant others, children, friends, extended family, co-workers, and members of their community1. Patients receiving care are healthcare providers’ focus, while employers focus primarily on their employees and their spouses/family members who are also covered by company-sponsored medical benefits. (see Figure 1).

Figure 1. Relationship of the individual to their “population” – those who influence their health, wellness, and chronic disease risk.

Our goal is to provide individually focused actions to prevent chronic disease by promoting healthy behaviors at the individual level, while simultaneously focusing on factors in the environment that influence a person’s health and ability to decrease or avoid chronic disease risk1. We prioritize quality of care, not volume of care, consistent with the Affordable Care Act2. Morrison Healthcare’s registered dietitian nutritionists (RDNs) are skilled at helping reduce the chronic disease risk of a population, by working with individuals to promote wellness and healthy behaviors, and partnering with key stakeholders to improve the environment of the population in which these people live and work. RDNs transform nutrition science into practical, healthy strategies for patients and their populations.

For example, our RDNs work in outpatient nutrition counseling centers to design and implement diabetes self-management programs and disease management support groups for those at risk for chronic diseases and their significant others. Our RDNs work as health coaches by empowering individuals to implement their goals and move towards improved health and wellness. Step into any Morrison Healthcare hospital café, and you will see healthy workplace initiatives like “healthy registers,” accurate and visible nutrition labeling, and convenient and adequate access to healthy foods. We support our hospitals’ design and implementation of breastfeeding-friendly workplace practices, and also provide bedside education for those undergoing treatment for illness or injury.

Population Health Management takes workplace wellness programs for employees one step further– to develop community partnerships and support systems for the population in which those employees live1. An example of this would be a workplace wellness program which partners with a local community-based gym or recreation center to grant open-access of their facilities to a high-risk population. In Morrison Healthcare cafes, our Morrison RDNs partner with our chefs to ensure the healthy choice is not only an easy choice but the default choice for our customers, no matter their location or current health status. Stop by a hospital where Morrison Healthcare is running the grill, and see for yourself how we are helping improve the health of the populations we serve!

References:

  1. Dover, B. From care management to population management. Available at https://www.healthcatalyst.com/From-Care-Management-to-Population-Health-Management. Updated June 2013. Accessed October 19, 2016.
  1. Kocher R. Emanuel EJ, DeParle N-AM. The Affordable Care Act and the future of clinical medicine: The opportunities and challenges.   Ann Intern Med.2010;153(8):536-539.

About the Author

Wendy Phillips MS, RD, CNSC, CLE, FAND is the Corporate Director of Clinical Support with Morrison Healthcare