Gain Strategic Alignment on Population Health Initiatives: How 3P Can Help

Ellen Noel

A few years into their transition to a population health model, one of our recent clients – a Midwest healthcare system serving 200,000 people – felt the wheels of change slowing.

The system’s population health domains were siloed, which meant no one was aligned around the core strategy. If the organization wanted to keep their population health initiative moving, they needed to get everyone on the same page. They needed a strategic vision that all stakeholders could rally behind.

Create a unified vision

Our client had successfully used Lean management in the past, but their latest challenge required a new approach. We recommended a 3P workshop.

3P (which stands for production, preparation and process) workshops are an effective tool for promoting strategic alignment. Over a multi-day planning session, stakeholders from across an organization work together to design a unified vision, and create a roadmap for tackling the challenges at hand.

The result? Cross-functional collaboration, stakeholder buy-in and a tailored plan for change.

Collaboration is key

A key part of creating a unified vision is making sure you have the right people in the room. A physician will have different perspectives from a community wellness partner, who will have different needs from a mental health counselor. 3P can get you there.

For this workshop, the organization’s leadership pulled in a broad range of stakeholders, from physicians to community health coaches to telemedicine and pharmacy staff.

Envision and design the ideal future state

We focused the client’s workshop on defining their optimal future state and building a roadmap for getting there.

First, we helped our client map out their current state and identify pain points. They came to three conclusions:

  • There was confusion around roles and responsibilities under the population health model. They needed to better define who was doing what, and when.
  • Healthcare isn’t one size fits all. They needed to offer patients multiple ways to access care.
  • Patient retention and access across the health continuum were key. They needed the right organizational and operational pieces in place.

From there, we focused on defining where they want to be. We posed the question: What will make you a destination of choice for population health? Demonstrating the power of 3P, the group generated 148 ideas in 30 minutes.

Build, break and refine ideas

The next step was organizing these ideas into models that defined what population health will look like within their organization. Participants broke into teams dedicated to three models:

  • Teams and their functions: Who will perform different roles?
  • One stop shop: How will we deliver population health care to our patients?
  • Patient lifecycle: What will excellent population health care look like for our patients?

Each team then ran patient personas (e.g., a 70-year-old patient with diabetes, a healthy 31-year-old) through the models. This helped pinpoint what was needed in each model to support different patient personas. The goal was to test viability, break the models, and then readjust.

For example, the team and functions group discovered that there was confusion around who was doing what, when, and how. While a healthy 20-year-old needs to be linked to a health coach, someone with chronic disease needs a nurse. This insight opened the door to brainstorming pathways for each patient type.

Using an evaluation matrix, the group compared, vetted and combined ideas until a unified, patient-centered care model emerged. This model established an ideal future state that our client could work back from.

End result: a roadmap for success

The 3P workshop enabled the team to create a roadmap for what needs to happen over the next year to move their population health initiative forward.

They’re already making progress: We recently guided them through their first Rapid Process Improvement Workshop (RPIW) on the patient lifecycle model. And, they brought together a group to redefine their metrics (quality of care over quantity), and pinpoint what they’re going to tackle and when.

The 3P workshop also helped break down department silos. Instead of isolated workgroups, the organization now has a guiding population health team that bridges the different population health domains. That leads to faster action, more strategic decisions, and a unified approach to advancing their mission.

Do you need help setting a strategic vision?

Many hospitals are making the change to a population health model – which means more and more healthcare leaders face the challenges of setting a strategic vision, building consensus and effectively communicating about change and designing a path forward.

If these problems sound familiar, a 3P workshop could be a key step toward solutions. Virginia Mason Institute’s proven approach to accelerating improvement through 3P tools and methods can help, whether your organization is setting a new strategic vision, exploring new facilities, planning significant upgrades, or developing new service offerings.

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