Friday, February 24, 2012

Colloquium Offers Introduction to Concepts of Population Health

Tamar Klaiman, PhD, MPH
Assistant Professor
Jefferson School of Population Health

On February 27-29, the Jefferson School of Population Health will be hosting the “Population Health and Care Coordination Colloquium” in Philadelphia, PA. I have the privilege of speaking during the pre-conference symposium “Introduction to Population Health.”

We are hopeful that many of our blog readers will be attending both the larger conference and preconference! In case you aren’t able to attend in person, you can participate remotely via the live or archived Internet webcast. (The webcast will be available beginning Monday, February 27.)

This conference brings together numerous stakeholders and experts in the field of population health and care coordination. The preconference session where I will be speaking will focus on introducing participants to the concepts of population health. The session is most appropriate for those new to the field of population health. During this session, participants will learn about how population health is defined and operationalized using a variety of examples from epidemiology, chronic care, health reform, and the patient perspective.

When I spoke last year, I was struck by the sophistication of my fellow speakers and the audience. The questions and discussions we had were thought provoking and interesting. I look forward to a similar experience this year. I hope blog readers will be able to join us at some or all of the Population Health and Care Colloquium!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A Dual Role at the Population Health Colloquium

Rob Lieberthal, PhD
Faculty, Jefferson School of Population Health

This is another in a series of blog posts previewing the Twelfth Population Health & Care Coordination Colloquium, taking place February 27-29 at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott Hotel.

I am excited to be both a speaker and an attendee at the 2012 Population Health & Care Coordination Colloquium, previously highlighted on this blog This will be my first time at the Colloquium, so I feel like I am jumping in with both feet. It promises to be an amazing three-day program.

First, I will be speaking as part of a four-faculty-member team in the Advanced Applications in Population Health pre-conference “boot camp”. I will lead off the morning with a talk on “The Economics of Personalized Medicine and Genomics.” After my talk, attendees should be able to assess genomic approaches from the point of view of a patient and a population, critique current approaches to assessment of personalized medicine, and evaluate the economic outcomes of genomic medicine for different populations. The complexity of the healthcare system will be a theme of the Advanced Applications pre-conference, where other speakers will discuss why patients need help making healthcare choices, and how population health interventions must invovle a systems approach. I am looking forward to explaining why the economic perspective is a crucial part of the improvement of population health.

Second, I will be attending a number of sessions featuring national leaders in population health. There are two sessions that I am especially looking forward to:
  • The health plan panel on Monday evening will bring in speakers from four major health insurers, who will continue to play a critical, and expanding role, in population health management under health reform.

  • Wednesday morning will feature a closing keynote from Chris McFadden, who I first met as a speaker at the JSPH Health Policy Forum . Chris and his partners are putting real money on the line when it comes to health care, so I am sure that his perspectives will be informed by a keen eye for where the emerging areas of opportunity in health care lie.

I am very much looking forward to the full experience at the Colloquium. I hope that my colleagues will help me to refine my own ideas, give me new ones, and introduce me to new partners. I am also looking forward to having a little fun, both at the Sunday night book club and the group fitness classes I see peppered throughout the program. It will be a packed schedule, and I hope to see you there!

The Twelfth Population Health & Care Coordination Colloquium will be February 27-29 at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriot Hotel. To register, or for further information,, or call 800-503-7439.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The VHA Annual Clinical Meeting 2012

I have been totally immersed in the VHA Annual Clinical Meeting in Miami FL for the past two days. It is one of the most stimulating meetings of the past year. Peter Pronovost did an outstanding job connecting DO NO HARM to the real work of reducing catheter associated infections. He got raucous applause. My panel comments focused on the book WHERE GOOD IDEAS COME FROM by Steven Johnson. I told the audience that our School of Population Health was all about "adjacent timing"---the notion that good ideas really do take a long time to come to fruition. We were ready to go to create our school because of 17 years of previous hard work in health policy!! Steven Johnson himself was stimulating and provocative claiming there really is no eureka moment. Other faculty pointed out how far we still have to go to get the kind of cultural change necessary to improve the quality and safety of care.The final speaker, Tom Goetz, is focusing on his book about prevention and wellness----he believes, as do I, that the patient is the source of control. Tom is the EDITOR of WIRED and he knows at a visceral level what he is talking about as a real leader of on line learning. The VHA is a national leader for improvement and I am confident that they will continue to make great headway in changing how we practice to reduce error and improve outcomes and lower costs, all at the same time. HATS off to the VHA for a job well done. I look forward to learning more about their newly funded Hospital Engagement Network, or HEN---one of 26 CMS funded national networks for improvement. Finally, all the attendees got a copy of my book DEMAND BETTER and I signed copies until my hand hurt. A great policy day all around!! DAVID NASH

Friday, February 10, 2012

Guest Commentary: Systems Engineering for Population Health

James F. Pelegano, MD, MS
Program Director
Master of Science in Healthcare Quality and Safety/Management

This is the first in a series of blog posts previewing the Twelfth Population Health & Care Coordination Colloquium, taking place February 27-29 at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriott Hotel.

When we use the phrase “systems engineering” it is not unusual to immediately jump to a manufacturing context. However, the operational approach to population health requires that we engineer systems that bring us a measurement of the health outcomes within a population so that we can more appropriately select our interventions and construct policies that allow us to standardize and analyze our care of specific populations.

The “systems” of which we speak involve multiple components that work together to achieve the goals of evidence based high quality care. During the preconference presentation, Advanced Applications in Population Health, of the Population Health and Care Coordination Colloquium we will be using a defined population, neonates, to illustrate these components.

In order to provide an operational understanding of the basic principles, we will use actual clinical cases and data to illustrate how IT systems, international benchmarking, data analysis, outcomes trending, standardized care and focused peer review all combine to create these essential clinical systems. By looking at a specific population we can better understand how these various components work in coordination. We will also look at the interfaces of the various components to better understand what is required from each of the specific parts of the system with respect to information flow and to overcoming specific barriers to success.

The focus on a well-defined population will allow us to be very concrete in our approach and will provide a basis for approaching other well defined populations.

Thus, the learning will be transferable to the development of other clinical systems within these other populations. The participant will leave with an understanding of how these systems are constructed and operationalized at the population/provider interface.

It is only by engineering at this population/provider interface that we can be successful in translating theory into practice and thus impact the determinants that influence the outcomes distribution in the population.

The Twelfth Population Health & Care Coordination Colloquium will be February 27-29 at the Philadelphia Downtown Marriot Hotel. To register, or for further information,, or call 800-503-7439.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Guest Commentary: Third Annual Schweitzer Day of Service – North Philadelphia

Nicole Cobb Moore, MA
Greater Philadelphia Program Director
Albert Schweitzer Fellowship

"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve." - Albert Schweitzer

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship (ASF)’s Greater Philadelphia Schweitzer Fellows Program held its Third Annual Day of Service on Saturday, January 21st at the Zion Baptist Church’s Educational Annex/Community Center in North Philadelphia.

Thirty-two volunteers—including current and potential Schweitzer Fellows, friends, family members, and 10 students from Youth Build Philadelphia Charter School—braved the snowy weather to scrap, sand, and repair the church’s fellowship hall (a space that helps to facilitate the church’s health and social service programming).

From replacing broken light bulbs to painting the walls with paint generously donated by several local businesses, the volunteers worked from 10 am to 4 pm to revitalize the 49’ by 59’ hall.

The volunteers’ efforts were lauded by Zion’s Cornelius D. Pitts, PharmD, who serves as a site mentor for current Schweitzer Fellow Lawrence Onishi (who is working to expand the church’s health literacy offerings).

“I just want to directly thank you for your time, compassion and dedication in providing such heartfelt assistance,” Pitts told the volunteers. “‘Service with joy’ is the phrase that came to mind for me … and that is what we are all called to. I suspect that [this service day], although admirable, is only a slight indication of the path you've chosen to follow in your lives, as is the mission of the Albert Schweitzer Fellows program. The energy you expend in these efforts will inspire others to do the same... and that is how the world will be changed for the better.”

For more information about the Greater Philadelphia Schweitzer Fellows Program, visit

For photos of the service project, go to