I did not know the winner of the inaugural Hearst Health Prize until the moment that Hearst Health CEO & President Dr. Gregory Dorn and I opened the envelope on stage at our Population Health Colloquium on March 8, 2016. Therefore, it was an extra pleasure to visit the winner, Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC), as the plenary speaker for their 2nd Annual Innovation Forum at the
North Carolina State McKimmon Conference and Training Center in Raleigh, NC. I learned a fair amount about CCNC from reviewing their submission for the Hearst Health Prize, and the opportunity to actually visit with their leadership and meet many of their teammates from across North Carolina gave me confidence about the future of population health!
A major key to CCNC’s success is collaboration. With a robust infrastructure of over 1,800 primary care medical homes, 6,500 primary care physicians, and 14 NCQA accredited networks with care managers in all 100 counties in North Carolina, CCNC is an exceptional model in practicing population health for Medicaid patients. They have reduced hospital readmissions, integrated community pharmacists into their medical home model, improved the quality and efficiency of patient care, all while keeping costs under control. They have also used a number of innovative population health tools and interventions such as real-time data exchange, predictive analytics, and a web-based medication management system.
I believe CCNC is a model for the care of patients throughout the U.S. Their confederation of 14 networks from across the state is an interesting model that further demonstrates how all health care, at the patient level at least, is local. Finally, I also enjoyed reviewing many of the innovation posters that were presented at the forum. Topics like “telepsychiatry” and creating a healthy food bank program were particularly interesting.
It was fun to be in the “winner’s circle”, with President and CEO, Allen Dobson, MD; Chief Health Information Officer and SVP, Population Health Analytics, Annette DuBard, MD, MPH; and the entire CCNC team! I will continue to follow their work and hope that others follow suit.