Population Health and Imaging

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By Carlos Vasquez, RT(R), CRA, FAHRA, FACHE

March 2013—What comes to mind when you hear the term “population health?” Do you ever wonder how you would manage your imaging operation under a population health contract?

First, allow me to attempt to define population health. For a broader definition I reached out to my organization partner for healthcare intelligence, Sg2. They define population health as “a care delivery model that involves a systematic effort to assess the health needs of a target population and proactively provide services to maintain and improve the health of that population. Maintaining the health of the population and intervening before acute illness and disease progression, population health could actually be viewed as a model with a mission to eliminate the need for as many high-acuity health services as possible.” Will this mean the end of emergent/STAT imaging operations? The picture is not clear and will continue to evolve; early comments from experts suggest the end of demand for the traditional ways of taking care of the critically ill as we know it.

I am certain you are seeing population health as a strategic goal in your respective organizations. Our role in aligning imaging to population health strategy is to continue to strive for best practices and evidence based outcomes, improve quality, contain cost, and consistently exceed patients’ expectations. In more than one way these initiatives have always been a way of life for radiology administrators; therefore don’t be surprised that of all ancillary services, imaging is the one that gets the call to show the data on productivity benchmarks, cost/procedure, and how we are impacting LOS and the health of the community.

Moving on to AHRA happenings, March is a busy month!  We’re starting off with a board of directors meeting where we will continue our strategic planning along with solidifying Spring Conference and Annual Meeting events.

Spring Design Team Members Art Tasaka, Terry Lynn Bucknall, Sandra Edson, and Mark Steffen are ready and expecting you at The Millennium Biltmore in Los Angeles for the 2013 Spring Conference (April 9-11). There are a lot of exciting sessions planned – click here to check them out!

The Nominations Committee is finalizing interviews and completing all the due diligence that goes into selecting director and president-elect candidates to recommend to the AHRA board and place on the ballot for election. Keep your eyes out for the ballot later this spring.

The Member Recognition Committee is accepting nominations for the prestigious AHRA Award for Excellence. Nominations are due March 18th. Award recipients will be recognized at the Annual Meeting in Minneapolis.

The AHRA Education Foundation’s Expanding Excellence Campaign reached a $2 million milestone last month. The goal of the campaign is set at $3 million, and we remain hopeful that goal will be reached by the end of the Annual Meeting in July. This is a very important campaign for AHRAEF as it allows us to continue to support critical educational programs while keeping membership dues and meeting registration fees at some of the lowest rates in the industry.

I am looking forward to spring with its longer days and green pastures, or perhaps I just need a change of terminology… “fiscal cliff” was exhausting, “sequestration” is frustrating, so what will it be next? How about March Madness!

Carlos Vasquez, RT(R), CRA, FAHRA, FACHE is president of the 2012-2013 AHRA Board of Directors. He is the division director of radiology services at Franciscan-St. Elizabeth Health in Lafayette, IN and can be reached at Carlos.vasquez@franciscanalliance.org

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