Cynthia Persily, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dr. Persily is the CEO of Highland Hospital in Charleston, WV
This week at the WV Hospital Association Annual meeting we heard a variety of interesting speakers on topics of interest to those of us in the hospital industry. We heard about ransomware, new federal physician payment programs, the importance of organ donation to folks in our state and beyond, and about our state’s future. But late this morning the speaker left a huge impression on me as she talked about consumers and the new area of retail health.
Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, a Health economist and Consultant talked about the convergence of several driving forces shaping in the US and beyond. She talked in particular about how different organizations are emerging as leaders in serving the health and health related demands of consumers. These include on line pharmacies, and retail clinics like those in Walmart, CVS, and Target. While these may have been disruptors in the past, they are not really new today. However, what is new is this—these retailers are now able to link other data about us to our health care. So, for instance, there is potential for our purchasing patterns to be linked to our health status, including over the counter medications, supplements, pharmacy usage, and now in some big box stores where food is available, even our spending patterns on “healthy” vs. “non-healthy” foods. Rather than scare us about the availability of data, Ms. Sarasohn-Kahn helped us think through how we as hospitals can use these trends to think differently about patient centered care.
For example, Kroger now has a line of healthy foods, their own brand of over-the-counter medications and vitamins, and in some stores they are linking a dietician to their pharmacies—so newly diagnosed customers with diabetes for instance can meet with a dietician who can accompany them through the grocery store to teach them how to eat in a way that is supportive of their therapy. How could we as hospitals partner with stores like these to provide our staff on site, branded with our brand, to do the same thing? Of special interest to me was Ms. Sarasohn-Kahn’s statistics about what millennials and GEN-Xers are most concerned with in regard to their help—anxiety and stress. Could we do something similar with mental health?
All of this comes in the same week as we released our Highland Hospital 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment and Implementation Plan (you can read more about this here). As we at the Highland companies think about how we can better serve our communities, we know that we must help people access mental health care and primary care in new and different ways. Could we use the lessons provided by Ms. Sarasohn-Kahn’s review of current trends to provide our care in different ways, or in different places? As we think about how we can capitalize on these “retail” trends in value-based healthcare, we’ll keep you apprised. But don’t be surprised if you see us someplace in the future where you least expect us!!!