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Viewpoint: Population health a focus across the country and in your practice


Medical Economics has a new Business of Health series designed to help primary care physicians tackle population health issues in their practices.

Population health management is one of the top 10 health industry issues that consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers identified for 2013. It “shows promise in the quest for better health at a lower cost by creating an integrated system of care, rather than fend-for-self medicine,” according to the company’s research. The firm expects the year to bring shared responsibility for patient outcomes and satisfaction, data collection and analysis, and a focus on at-risk populations, among other things.

Russ Rudish, vice chairman and principal of Deloitte LLP and leader of its U.S. and global healthcare practices, puts it this way in the company’s 2013 industry outlook for healthcare providers: “Healthcare providers are increasingly collaborating with nontraditional partners-such as health plans and pharmaceutical companies-to identify and pursue novel ways to treat disease, facilitate efficient research and development, and promote wellness beyond what has been done to date.” Healthcare providers, payers, and pharmaceutical companies are using data and analytics to fuel clinical and operational innovation, he adds.

Of course, your goal as a physician always has been to help your patients improve or maintain their health. Perhaps now, however, national trends related to evolving practice and reimbursement arrangements, as well as quality metrics, are magnifying your desire to improve the health of your practice as well. Fortunately, there’s a way to do both, and we’ll show you how.

Our new business of health series

Regardless of your motivations, our new Business of Health series will help you address public health issues at the level of your individual practice. We’ll present the latest research on specific disease states and the larger implications for the healthcare system and country as a whole. And we’ll highlight steps you can take in your practice to contribute to a solution for your patients, your community, and the nation. All in a manner that, in staying true to our mission, keeps in mind the financial well-being of your practice.

Our first installment, in the February 25 issue, focused on systems you can put in place to aid the health of your patients while helping curtail the $150 billion spent annually in the United States to treat obesity. (To see the article again, visit In our March 10 issue, you’ll find a similar examination of the subject of pain management. Future articles will provide insights on topics such as:

  • cardiometabolic disease and weight,

  • diabetes,

  • flu/cough/cold,

  • sleep medicine.

And each article will be accompanied by a Web site with additional resources for you (you'll find specific Web addresses within the articles).

Let us know what other topics you’d like to see addressed. Please email us at

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Jennifer N. Lee, MD, FAAFP
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
© National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health