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Kick-Start the Triple Aim

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3 tips on advancing population health



The National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md., in Montgomery County. The presence of the NIH and other big healthcare centers in the county have helped make it a healthcare-reform leader.

The Primary Care Coalition in Montgomery County, Md., discusses its lessons as it has pushed to improve population health.

  1. “Every project does not need to focus on all three dimensions of the Triple Aim (but your portfolio of projects does).”
    “Until this year, we tried to include a measure for population health, patient experience, and cost reduction for every project we had. Previously, we thought a Triple Aim portfolio was a collection of projects each of which should achieve all three aims simultaneously. We now understand that our portfolio of projects needs to achieve all three aims. ”
  2. “Be clear on the definition and identification of your population.
    “{A] lesson we learned from Kick-Start the Triple Aim was about the formal structure underlying the Triple Aim. First and foremost is to be clear on how we define and identify our population. For an organization like ours, that can get a little messy. Having complete clarity, however, drives how we operate going forward.”
  3. “Never underestimate the value of learning from patients.
    “The Triple Aim prototyping work we did with IHI {the Institute for Healthcare Improvement} focused on emergency department (ED) utilization and contributed to the success of our efforts to link ED patients to primary care (as described in a study published in Health Affairs in May 2015). During the prototyping, IHI promoted the concept of studying an ā€œn of 1ā€ [with ā€œnā€ denoting sample size] and pushed us to see how much we could learn from talking to a single patient who went to the ED. We started small and ended up doing a number of interviews.”

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