On Friday, April 15, 2016, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health brought together health care leaders, faculty, students and alumni to discuss the current landscape and the future of health care policy and management at its 2016 HPM Healthcare Conference.
Michael Sparer, Professor and Chair, Department of Health Policy and Management, Columbia University, kicked off the discussion by saying, “The health care system is undergoing dramatic and significant change in regards to payment systems, population health management and information technology.” He also noted, “Here at Columbia, we get to research these issues in both the classroom and workplace, but it’s extremely rare to have the opportunity to come together, as a community, to discuss the future.”
Sparer introduced Karen Ignagni, President and CEO, EmblemHealth, for the keynote address, “Will Consumerism Change Health Care?” Setting the landscape for future public health leaders, Ignagni described the environmental factors currently shaping consumer perceptions of health care — including the 2016 election and the economy — and the issues students can expect to face in their careers. “Health care’s new normal is informing, empowering, connecting and providing real-time access to consumers,” she explained. “The question we must ask is: What does the consumer expect and need at their most vulnerable points?”
Organizations are rethinking the approach to health care by bolstering competitive, service and people strategies, while expanding access to information, and improving network quality. “With value-based reimbursements, we’re making considerable progress,” Ignagni said. “We’re not moving a payment structure, but rather an entire system.”
Following Ignagni’s keynote address, the first panel focused on how two of New York’s largest hospital systems approach population health management. Panelists Niyum Gandhi, Executive Vice President and Chief Population Health Officer, Mount Sinai Health System, and David Alge, Senior Vice President, Community and Population Health, New York–Presbyterian Hospital, detailed their organizations’ business models and strategies.
“Population health is an aspiration, a business model, a culture, as well as a mindset,” explained Gandhi. Alge added, “At New York–Presbyterian, we work to improve the sustainability of the system by taking these ideologies and converting them into a business strategy.”
The culture and mindset of health care organizations play an integral role in creating an environment where employees are thinking differently to achieve positive outcomes. “There is a huge opportunity to train the next generation of clinicians in a new way,” explained Gandhi. “If we could align incentives, while delivering greater value, we might actually solve the issue of financial return. Suddenly, we would become the population health experts that saved the market.”
Alge added, “Physicians want to do the right thing, without incentives. It’s a matter of how much support we give them that will help make drastic improvements and change outcomes.”
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