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Published on February 22, 2019

Population Health: Creating Healthier Communities

Population HealthIn this Fox 8 House Call series, Cone Health experts explain how population health creates healthier communities, including:

Population Health: What Is Population Health?

Triad HealthCare Network (THN) is an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) made up of community physicians, Cone Health and its physicians and hospitals, and other providers. The physician-led organization is trying to reduce the cost and improve the quality of health care.

More than 1,200 doctors are a part of THN. Managing the health of a large population means more than helping them when they are sick or visiting the doctor’s office. Simply put, population health is about keeping well people well, keeping chronically ill patients stable and helping end-of-life patients make informed decisions.

Population health uses data to help improve and maintain a patient’s health and ability to complete everyday tasks. The overall goal of population health is higher quality, better coordinated and more efficient care.

Some patients have more than one doctor caring for them. Those doctors may not know about each other. In order for population health to be successful, a patient’s doctors must share clinical information and goals, and understand their role in caring for that patient.

Visit to find a THN provider and explore resources that will help you in your health care journey.

Jim Osborne, MD, FACP, is the senior medical director of population health for Triad HealthCare Network, a sleep and internal medicine specialist in the Triad and a member of the Cone Health Medical and Dental Staff. He received a Bachelor of Science in zoology from North Carolina State University in 1978 and completed medical school at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in 1983. Osborne completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Iowa in 1986.

Population Health: Creating Healthier Communities for Adults With Chronic Illness

A chronic or long-term illness is a condition that lasts the duration of a person’s life. They require periodic monitoring and intervention by a primary care provider. Diabetes, lung disease and heart disease are the 3 leading chronic illnesses in the U.S.

Triad HealthCare Network (THN) is an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) that is made up of physicians who work with social workers, pharmacists, nurses and mid-level providers (nurse practitioners and physician assistants) to not only identify patients with chronic illnesses, but make sure their conditions are being monitored to the best of a provider’s ability. Some patients have barriers that prevent them from seeking the health care they need, such as difficulty finding transportation or not being able to get their medicine. THN’s goal is to not let those patients fall through the cracks.

THN provides resources to patients, along with clinics and private offices, in an effort to help those with chronic illnesses manage their care. Resources include:

  • Education.
  • Data and analytics.
  • Problem solving and care management.
  • Mobile paramedic units that visit patients with congestive heart failure.

Visit to find a THN provider and explore resources that will help you in your health care journey.

Beth Hodges, MD, is a medical director with Triad HealthCare Network and a family medicine doctor in the Triad. She earned her medical degree at Wright State University School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio.

Population Health: Creating Healthier Communities for Children

While parents and families are important for a child’s development, communities play a key role, too. No family can do everything by itself. When communities come together to create healthy places where families can live, work and play, a child’s overall development is better supported.

Think of a child's development like weaving the strands of a rope. The first strand involves fostering healthy friendships and relationships. The second strand is intellectual, and involves doing things to stimulate children’s minds, like reading to them. The third strand involves physical development – helping kids develop healthy food and exercise habits, and staying away from poor choices, like alcohol and drugs. You don’t want a rope with just one strand. When you weave the strands together, you form a stronger rope. Communities and families can weave together social, emotional, intellectual and physical development to make kids healthy.

Imagine your community as a power grid with all of the places that kids can plug in. Are they in the right places? Healthy communities should have places for children to plug in outside the home that support social, emotional, intellectual and physical development. Those can include:

  • Museums.
  • Parks and recreation facilities.
  • After-school programs.
  • Sports teams.
  • Faith institutions.

At these places, other adults help shape and form a child’s development and character.

Our community is fortunate, as Cone Health has an exceptional network of providers and community partners dedicated to helping you in your family’s health care journey.

Kathy Colville is the healthy communities director for Cone Health. She received her bachelor’s degree in comparative literature from Brown University, and master’s degrees in social work and public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

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