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LHP strategic plan focus area: Improving population health

LHP’s 2018-2020 strategic plan has four priority goals: Improve population health, grow covered lives, maximize financial performance and enhance membership value. Throughout the year we’ll use this newsletter to update you on what LHP leadership is doing to make progress on each goal.

Understanding the impacts and influences of what has been termed “the social determinants of health” is part of LHP’s focus on improving population health. Growing scientific evidence suggests that social factors such as education, income, housing and food security can determine health status, health needs and health outcomes. The social determinants of health are affecting many of our patients, whether we’re aware of it or not.
The LHP Board and Population Health Services Committee have spent time at recent meetings discussing this area of health care, asking:

•  How do we translate understanding about the social determinants of health into action? 
•  What role do we play as a network? 
•  What challenges and barriers do we face? 
•  Where do we begin in tackling the issue?

There are some very easy steps providers can take to begin addressing the issue. Start by thinking about what determinants are affecting your unique patient population and your community and consider implementing surveillance questions or screening tools to help address the issues. Become aware of appropriate community partners and take advantage of those resources to provide better patient care. 

Want to learn more?

Consider watching the Social Determinants of Health LHP Learning Module. Presented by R.J. Gillespie, M.D., a pediatrician at The Children’s Clinic, the presentation includes examples and strategies for identifying and addressing social determinants of health in your patient population. “Whether you are a pediatrician, family medicine physicians, internist or specialist, the social determinants of health are affecting the patients you see every day, often without you noticing their impacts.” (Here's a list of the 2018 LHP Learning Modules.)

In addition, here’s a link to an online story in Hospitals and Health Networks about how a ProMedica, a comprehensive health care network in the Midwest, is applying what they have learned about the social determinants of health to their population.

In future communications we’ll share plans about how LHP can support providers and their patients in addressing the social determinants of health. Learn more about LHP's three-year strategic plan on the LHP team site here.


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