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D-H Leaders Discuss Population Health, ACO Models

November 27, 2012
Lebanon, NH

As health care continues to evolve, terms like "population health" and "accountable care" have become more and more prevalent. But fully understanding what they mean and how they fit into efforts to improve the health care system can be challenging, even for those working within health care organizations.

That's why Dartmouth-Hitchcock (D-H) decided to present a special panel discussion with D-H leaders on November 20, featuring Gregg Meyer, MD, Chief Clinical Officer and Executive Vice President for Population Health; Barbara Walters, MD, Executive Medical Director, Accountable Care; and Steve LeBlanc, Executive Vice President for Strategy and Network Relations. 

Moderated by D-H Director of External Relations Rick Adams, the panel provided their perspectives on what population health means to D-H, and how the accountable care model will help the organization reach its vision to achieve the healthiest population possible.

"Population health is not just about the patients in front of us or the patients who are not getting care, it's about the community we serve and those patients of tomorrow," explained Meyer. "It gives us the opportunity to not only think about how we deliver care, but also to think about what we can do to keep people safe and healthy moving forward."

In speaking about D-H's participation in a number of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), groups of providers and insurers that work together to improve quality and reduce costs, Walters said, "The (D-H) cornerstone of an accountable care organization is a primary care medical home (or care team), which takes responsibility for helping the patient manage all of those very confusing, complicated transitions of care." D-H has worked diligently to transform this role, she said, in an effort to improve care coordination, efficiency, and patient outcomes.

Collaboration between health care organizations will be key to improving population health in the future, said LeBlanc. "As we think about our relationships (with other health care organizations), it's really about how we can work with others to serve this population better, improve the overall quality, and then transform the payment system away from fee for service to something that has more of a population-based effect to it."

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