Ruthlessly Strategic!

Two poignant words – ruthlessly strategic – echoed across the walls of the Glass Pavilion at Johns Hopkins University as Jessica Kahn delivered an impassioned challenge to participants during the closing panel of the 8th Annual Stewards of Change Symposium.  Participants got it.  They understand that now is the time to act – with courage, passion, data, results and most importantly strategic focus to get critical initiatives started.




Inherent in this challenge is recognition of the need to fight the inertia of giant bureaucracies and the numbing effect of silo’d programs.  Yes we are all busy, and yes everyone has initiative fatigue, but now is the time to reenergize and act before the funding and flexibility from the Affordable Care Act disappear – which will be at the end of December 2015 (unless there is an act of Congress, so to speak).

In effect, Jessica’s words reinforced the core theme of this year’s symposium ‘Achieving Interoperability’ – we all need to leverage the available funding and tools of Affordable Care Act to catalyze information sharing between health and human services before time runs out. We explored these topics from a broad perspective by including the whole spectrum of service delivery including prevention, social determinants, population & public health, disease & health care and social services. Better health cannot, and will never be achieved through better disease management and/or hospital care alone.  The other social, life style an environmental factors account for 80% of an individual’s health outcomes. Without accounting for these we are fiddling with the chairs on the deck of the Titanic.

We brought together subject matter experts from all the above mentioned fields to have the first interdisciplinary conversation across the whole spectrum of HHS disciplines and programs.  By focusing on our common clients, similar business processes and reusable technologies we were able to see many areas that we share in common.  And better yet – we heard about innovative models already leading the way including the Accountable Care Community (ACC).  This is interoperability in action. ACCs attempt to orchestrate all the health and human service providers and practitioners in a community around a holistic vision of care.  These ACC’s are just beginning to develop but hold great promise to lead the way towards interoperability.

Even with three days there still wasn’t enough time to cover all the topics in depth – despite our best efforts.  But we did cover a lot of terrain and will post all the symposium materials on the SOC website shortly for you to review.  We encourage you to create your own symposium experience using the materials including the agenda, videos, graphics, presentations, symposium photosand Twitter commentary created during the symposium.

To keep the momentum going we expect to host several webinars this coming year to continue discussing key topics including Accountable Care Communities, Enterprise Systems Thinking, Collaborative Analysis, Personas/Human Centered Design and Social Determinants of Health.  Check back for more information or subscribe to the blog post to stay current, or request access to our LinkedIn group.  Feel free to post a comment or start a discussion. 

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