North Highland Hosts Healthcare Leaders to Discuss Population Health Challenges & Solutions

North Highland hosted our first healthcare fireside chat on October 25th in Philadelphia with Dr. David Nash, the Founding Dean Emeritus of the Jefferson College of Population Health. The event brought together executives and leaders from hospital systems, distributors, and pharma companies to celebrate the launch of Dr. Nash’s new book and discuss solutions to challenges in healthcare delivery. Dr. Nash’s insights reinforced North Highland’s approach to helping our healthcare clients.

Below our team shares key takeaways related to challenges discussed at the event, as well as our thoughts on solutions.

1. Workforce challenges must be met with meaningful solutions.

When asked how to address the exodus of doctors and nurses from the healthcare industry in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Nash shared his view, “The answer to burnout is fundamentally two things: 1) give doctors, nurses, and pharmacists the wherewithal to tackle the social determinants, and 2) give doctors leadership training opportunities and stake in the game so that they feel they’re part of the system and the fix.”

North Highland’s tested approach to employee experience recognizes that giving employees a sense of meaning in and ownership of the work they do is the key to improving engagement and beating back burnout. As Dr. Nash put it, the solution isn’t a “yoga mat,” it’s a better workforce strategy. And North Highland can help with that.

2. Social impact strategies require better alignment, prioritization, and measurement.

Hospitals have spent years investing in social impact strategies that aim to improve outcomes and close health equity gaps. But it’s hard to know whether those strategies are working, and following the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more urgent than ever.

Dr. Nash shared his thinking on how to reevaluate these social impact strategies, “There’s 30 years of research that demonstrates pretty conclusively that if the goal is to improve health and keep people out of the hospital, get them to lose weight and control their blood pressure, we know how to do all that—when we’re paid differently.” Setting clear priorities, measuring performance, and tying performance to compensation is easier said than done, Dr. Nash acknowledges.

At North Highland, we have a proven track record of helping players across the healthcare ecosystem (health systems, distributors, pharma companies) prioritize their social impact programs, measure outcomes, and align leadership and organizational structures to achieve those goals.

3. Data and technology systems modernization will give your employees the tools they need.

Dr. Nash expressed the frustration we know many healthcare leaders feel about data, saying, “We’re overwhelmed with data, but we still only have a modest amount of actionable information.” Making sense of data is one of the top challenges faced across the healthcare ecosystem – by health systems, distributors, and drug manufacturers.

North Highland’s integrated technology and data solutions, including our Transformational Intelligence platform, help us help you make sense of unstructured data from various sources. As Dr. Nash said, leaders “are looking to be able to merge the ambulatory data, the inpatient data, the laboratory data, the social determinants data.”

We’d love to talk to you about our technology and data capabilities. Dr. Nash said it best: “Great firms like North Highland can help a lot of organizations to bring the data together in new ways.”

What does a healthcare leader need to do?

The healthcare industry is facing a perfect storm of challenges: pandemic aftershocks, a softening economy, a tight labor market, and more. It’s easy to get overwhelmed given the circumstances, but North Highland’s advice is to pursue integrated solutions. The problems the industry faces are interrelated, and only through thoughtful strategy that combines a people-centric approach with data and deep industry expertise can healthcare leaders hope to overcome their challenges.