Thursday, March 17, 2011

Guest Commentary: Population Health and Care Coordination Colloquium 2011

Patrick Monaghan
Director of Communications
Jefferson School of Population Health

Anyone at all skeptical about the watershed changes transforming health care in the United States need only have been in Philadelphia this week. The Eleventh Population Health and Care Coordination Colloquium, hosted by the Jefferson School of Population Health (JSPH), demonstrated how more Americans are gaining or retaining access to care, as well as a new focus on health promotion, wellness and prevention strategies as the way to improve quality of life.

The transformation of health care was on the minds of many of the authors who spoke at Sunday evening’s health policy dinner and book signing event. Michael Christopher Gibbons, MD, MPH, author of “eHealth Solutions for Healthcare Disparities,” discussed emerging trends in cyber-health technology, and how concerns are mounting about racial and ethnic disparities in health care utilization outcomes.

Sanjaya Kumar, MD, MPH, who co-authored “Demand Better! Revive Our Broken Healthcare System,” with JSPH Dean David B. Nash, MD, MBA, explained how their book synthesizes the many trends, initiatives, reports, organizations and policies that look beyond our healthcare myths and stand on the front lines of the quality and safety revolution.

I was impressed by the presentations around “Integrating Technology and Population Health,” which touched on everything from stem cell research to the numerous innovations mobile technology has introduced to health care. Should I be “banking” my stem cells today so they can be used to help heal my body in the future? Can’t say I’ve considered that one before, but I’m thinking about it now.

As for mobile technology, NIH grants for mobile phone related research have been rising rapidly, thanks to the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. There were about 150 awards in 2010, and those numbers are expected to grow in the coming years. Mobile technologies have enormous potential as tools to promote healthy behavioral change, to transform the caregiver-patient relationship, and to revolutionize the way healthcare is delivered in the U.S. and around the globe.

These are just a few of my observations from the time I spent at the Colloquium. Did you attend? What were your impressions? What sessions were standouts for you? As always, your feedback is encouraged.

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