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Population Health Management

Measurably improving health, sustainably, one life at a time.

Robert A. Greene, MD, MHCDS, FACP

Dartmouth-Hitchcock Chief Population Health Management Officer

Population health management is both a bold, far-reaching concept and a simple and sensible idea.

The crux of population health management is that people's health can't be optimized by addressing it a few hours a year in a doctor's office. Instead, caregivers must connect with people at home and at work rather than waiting for them to walk through the doors of exam rooms or emergency departments.

Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) is helping lead the way nationally in population health management, modifying how we think and operate so D-H stewards the health of the entire population within the region it serves. That means reengineering care that is delivered in exam rooms and emergency departments, as well as developing ways to collaborate with workplaces, schools, nonprofit organizations and community agencies to meet people on their own turf—even people who don't consider themselves D-H patients.

D-H's population health management leaders speak of "people," not "patients." Chief Population Health Management Officer Robert A. Greene, MD, MHCDS, FACP, puts it this way: "Dartmouth-Hitchcock is focused on health, not just health care."

Putting people at the center

Historically hospitals and health-care providers have been at the center of the health-care system, and patients have had to travel to receive care. Population health management flips that relationship inside out.

The idea behind population health management is that people should be at the center of the system. And a variety of initiatives by D-H Population Health Management units are striving to reach people where they live and work, serving them in the most effective, efficient and sustainable way possible. The population health management approach "treats patients holistically," Greene explains. "It understands the relationships between people's medical, emotional and social conditions, the three aspects of true health, and links them to resources they need to get well and stay well."

Hospitals and doctors' offices continue to play a key role in population health management, but they're no longer the hub of the system. It will take a while to thoroughly reinvent the existing health-care hierarchy. The overall population health management concept may be simple and sensible, but the complex interrelationships among all the parts of the current system make changing it a complicated matter.

D-H is proud to be among the organizations taking the lead on making genuine progress toward establishing true population health management.

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