Population Health 101
What is population health? That’s the question Carrie Harris-Muller has been addressing since February 2018, when she arrived at OhioHealth to take on the newly created role of senior vice president of population health.
It’s a question Harris-Muller likes answering. It gives her the opportunity to explain a new way of thinking about how OhioHealth delivers healthcare, and the impact we have on our communities.
But before she answers, she asks a few questions of her own to get people thinking:
What if we could …
Remove the stress, uncertainty and high price tag of managing a chronic condition?
End patient anxiety about what to do once they leave us?
Connect people to care sooner in new and unconventional ways?
What if we could make care more simple, accessible and affordable?
OhioHealth seeks to find solutions to these questions through population health, which we define as: Sustainably meeting the needs of a community by promoting health, preventing disease and addressing inequities.
It’s a lofty goal, but Harris-Muller believes it’s one we can achieve. She draws inspiration from a personal experience with another health provider.
“I took my daughter in for a physical, and while I was sitting there, the nurse practitioner asked if she could pull up my electronic medical record,” Harris-Muller recalled. “She saw I was due for a flu shot and asked if I wanted it right then. They met my needs and my daughter’s in one interaction. It saved me time and another visit.”
Breaking the status quo is what Harris-Muller is here to encourage. It will require a new mindset about how we deliver care, and challenging ourselves to think outside the box. We’ll have to change processes and make connections where they don’t exist today. And it means asking a lot more what if questions.
What if we offer drive-up flu shot events where people don’t have to get out of the car?
What if we provide transportation so patients can keep their appointments?
What if we partner with area shelters so when our most vulnerable populations leave us, they have a safe place to recover?
What if we could leverage our mobile capabilities and push care into our communities through pop-up clinics?
“We’re trying to provide care and services for patients in the ways that best meet their needs, where they want to have it delivered. That’s unconventional for us,” said Harris-Muller.
Our patients are expecting better care and care coordination, especially because they are spending more on healthcare than ever before. When our what if questions become we provide statements, it will mean OhioHealth is meeting the needs of our communities, preventing disease and addressing inequities.
“Our work has already begun, but there’s a long way to go. Population health is an important priority, and I want everyone at OhioHealth to be excited about and engaged in this shift in thinking,” said Harris-Muller. “When we deliver healthcare in a way that you and your family want to receive it – when we make it simple, accessible and affordable – we’ll create new levels of trust with our patients and make a profound impact on them through our care.”
This story was originally published in an internal OhioHealth associate publication.
OhioHealth is a nationally recognized, not-for-profit, charitable, healthcare outreach of the United Methodist Church.
Based in Columbus, Ohio, OhioHealth has been recognized as one of the top five large health systems in America by Truven Health Analytics, an honor it has received six times. It is also recognized by Fortune as one of the “100 Best Companies to Work For” and has been for 13 years in a row, 2007–2019.
Serving its communities since 1891, OhioHealth is a family of 30,000 associates, physicians and volunteers, and a system of 12 hospitals and more than 200 ambulatory sites, hospice, home health, medical equipment and other health services spanning a 47-county area.
OhioHealth hospitals include OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Grant Medical Center, OhioHealth Doctors Hospital, OhioHealth Grady Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Dublin Methodist Hospital, OhioHealth Hardin Memorial Hospital, OhioHealth Marion General Hospital, OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, OhioHealth Mansfield Hospital, OhioHealth Shelby Hospital, OhioHealth Grove City Methodist Hospital and OhioHealth Berger Hospital. For more information, please visit OhioHealth.com.