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Smart Talk is a daily, live, interactive program featuring conversations with newsmakers and experts in a variety of fields and exploring a wide range of issues and ideas, including the economy, politics, health care, education, culture, and the environment.  Smart Talk airs live every week day at 9 a.m. on WITF’s 89.5 and 93.3.

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Host: Scott LaMar

Smart Talk: what does "population health" mean to your health care

Written by Ben Allen, General Assignment Reporter | May 5, 2015 10:00 AM


What to look for on Smart Talk Tuesday, May 5, 2015:

How can a health system address the unique circumstances of each patient and still provide everyone with equal access to care? Physicians, researchers, and policy makers are increasingly turning to a population health approach to develop new and innovative answers to this question.

Many factors influence a person's health and access to medical care, such as physical environment, nutrition, and personal health practices and behaviors. Population health considers this wide range of issues and differs from public health by including input from healthcare providers, law makers and community organizations in order to understand why some populations are healthier than others.

Solutions can be particularly difficult to find in the case of "superutilizers," or the 3 percent of the population whose frequent visits to emergency rooms produce about 50 percent of healthcare costs.

Many superutilizers have chronic medical conditions, but gaining access to social and legal services to help them manage those conditions can be difficult without help. Healthcare teams such as Care Connections at Lancaster General Health combine the expertise of a clinical pharmacist, care management nurse, social worker, navigator and behavioral health specialist to provide "patient-centered" care. Patients receive collaborative aid to manage their chronic conditions, saving them from time spent in the hospital and the accumulation of medical bills.

Whether they are called healthcare teams, community healthcare coalitions, or accountable care organizations, these new collaborative efforts in healthcare educate patients on the variety of factors that impact their health, and how they can proactively address them.

Joining us on Tuesday's Smart Talk to discuss population health are Dr. Bill Bird, medical director for Penn State Health Care Partners and professor of family and community medicine at Penn State College of Medicine, Dr. Karen Jones, Vice President and Chief Medical Officer of WellSpan Medical Group, and Dr. John C. Wood, Medical Director for Lancaster General Health's Care Connections.

For more on Population Health plus a deeper look at the changing tide of healthcare, check out WITF's Transforming Health. From policy to personal choices we're taking a comprehensive look at today's health system. A partnership of WITF, WellSpan Health and Penn State Hershey Medical Center.

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Dr. Karen Jones, Dr. John C. Wood and Dr. Bill Bird

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  • Robert D Colgan img 2015-05-05 07:55

    I hope that part of today's discussion will examine how the extant paradigm-----the one promulgated through advertising and marketing------ (that we have sicknesses that will respond to drugs)---- completely runs counter to a paradigm of being well, taking care of oneself, taking appropriate action (rest, sleep, hydration, stretching, massage, etc) when something is shifting.

    A wellness paradigm is exactly what Big Phrma and even many medical practitioners DO NOT WANT------because it could negatively financially impact the 3.7 Trillion$ industry of healthcare in the USA: sad to say, most of our operative social systems in this nation are profit-dependent.

    Our current profit-driven healthcare system RELIES ON a percentage of the population having physical/mental does NOT rely on a large percentage of the populace no longer needing the same type of healthcare as we have at the present....

    If we were to implement a MedicareForAll national health care system----with everyone paying into it---we could begin to change that extant paradigm of sickness to one of wellness, a major sea-change for the betterment of all.

    Those large profits have to be removed from the insurers and Big Pharma if we are to succeed in implementing a wellness paradigm.

  • Radio Smart Talk img 2015-11-02 11:03

    Nathan emails:

    I am truly fortunate to work for an employer who values people. Bell & Evans, located in Fredericksburg, Lebanon county provides benefit plans as low as $10.00 per week and $0/copay and $0/deductible. We even have an onsite clinic for Team Members to see a doctor without having to leave work. There aren’t many places that pay you to go to the doctor. It is incredibly freeing to know you have the coverage you need and can use it at any time.