April, 2017 vol. 1 - In This Issue:
While politicians play Russian Roulette with health coverage and access, organizations with long and credible history in health policy and implementation continue to highlight vital elements for a healthy nation:
  • Continuing to optimize delivery that puts the patient at the center of care,
  • Harnessing the power of big data to identify our biggest health challenges, and where we're making progress, and
  • Ensuring that the U.S. health system delivers care that is equitable and focused on health and wellness.
True leaders in this debate recognize that solutions aren't owned by party affiliation, nor are they one-size-fits-all strategies. Our current (and future) health crises - obesity, drug addiction, disparities in access, outbreaks and antibiotic resistance - demand that stakeholders at every level collaborate. Read on to see some rational thinking toward that go. 

What Now? A Four Step Plan for Bipartisan Health Reform

As I concluded in my Health Affairs Blog post last Monday, it should be clearer now than ever that new steps to improve our health care system must be pursued on a bipartisan basis. In the past week, several Members of Congress and the President himself have expressed interest in finding consensus solutions to the challenges we face. Democrats, meanwhile, have responded in kind. While it will not be easy, we ought to applaud these gestures and, as health care stakeholders, demonstrate our preparedness to support efforts to improve health care access and reduce costs.

A Vital but Missing Piece in the Healthcare Discussion

We need to analyze how healthy our population is

Healthcare is a hot topic making front-page news on a daily basis, and the outcome of today's policy debates will have a profound impact on the affordability and quality of health insurance coverage for a substantial number of vulnerable Americans - the elderly, the chronically ill, and the "working poor," as well as those living at or below the poverty line

In Health Bill's Defeat, Medicaid Comes of Age

When it was created more than a half century ago, Medicaid almost escaped notice.

Front-page stories hailed the bigger, more controversial part of the law that President Lyndon B. Johnson signed that July day in 1965 - health insurance for elderly people, or Medicare, which the American Medical Association had bitterly denounced as socialized medicine. The New York Times did not even mention Medicaid, conceived as a small program to cover poor people's medical bills. 

Care Pathways Can Improve Health Care Quality 

Hospitals should take a pragmatic approach when putting care pathways in place

Care pathways, also known as clinical pathways or care maps, are a core tool to manage quality in health care and achieve standardization of patient care processes. The aim of a care pathway is to develop real-world guidelines that enhance the quality of care provided to a patient throughout treatment. This approach helps improve patient outcomes, promote patient safety, increase patient satisfaction, and optimize the use of resources in evidence- or value-based practice. This article examines key drivers for care pathways in clinical practice and success factors in their implementation. 

Big Data: Will It Improve Patient-Centered Care?
Within a generation, empirical researchers have experienced unprecedented increases in the availability of data. 'Big data' has arrived with considerable hype and a sense that these are dramatic shifts in the research environment that have wide-reaching implications across many disciplines. There is no doubt that the analysis of new and varied sources of data currently available to researchers in health have the potential to better measure, monitor and describe health outcomes of patients and to uncover interesting patterns in how patients respond to treatments and interact with the health system. What is less clear is whether answers are readily available to more nuanced and substantive research questions. Here, the data-rich environment needs to be complemented by considerable research effort developing novel research designs and generating new and improved methods of analysis. Importantly, this will require researchers to be able to combine data from multiple sources and to be pro-active in data collection. 

Lancet series puts spotlight on health inequity in the U.S.
Societal issues in the U.S., including systemic racism, poverty and mass incarceration, contribute to health inequity, a new series of studies has found.

The Lancet  released a five-part look at health inequity in the U.S., titled the "United States of Health," and researchers found that institutional racism, the increasing income gap and high rates of incarceration are all factors that make it harder for minorities and the poor to access healthcare. And the healthcare system, as it is financially structured today, only makes this problem worse, the researchers concluded.

Lancet Series
America: equity and equality in health

The Lancet publishes its latest Series about US health and health care, which highlights how widening gaps of income inequality are driving increases in health inequity. Other contributory factors, including mass incarceration and structural racism, are evaluated, as is the impact of the Affordable Care Act. The Series warns of a 21st century health-poverty trap unless new interventions are implemented.

How Providers Can Better Serve Millennial Patients

Tech-savvy millennials view healthcare through a different lens than previous generations, so providers that want to better reach this population must adapt to their expectations and worldview.

For starters, millennials' expectations of the healthcare system go beyond medical treatment. They put a high value on a work-life balance and an emphasis on wellness, according to an article from Hospitals & Health Networks. They expect an interactive, responsive way to communicate with their doctors, and may require more follow-up and specific guidance. 

Passion + Quality = Change That Matters
I embrace the powerful opportunities in our evolving health care landscape. I founded Momentum Health Strategies to be a catalyst for change through continuous learning, diverse engagement and thoughtful policy and practice initiatives. I deliver innovative, strategic thinking and a passion for improving the patient experience. My personal drive and dedication to high-quality results will help you navigate the competitive terrain you face and convert your vision to action.

Momentum Health Strategies

Jennifer L Bright, MPA
(703) 628 - 0534