How Academic Health Systems Can Achieve Population Health in Vulnerable Populations Through Value-Based Care: The Critical Importance of Establishing Trusted Agency

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Abstract

Improving population health may require health systems to proactively engage patient populations as partners in the implementation of healthy behaviors as a shared value using strategies that incentivize healthy outcomes for the population as a whole. The current reactive health care model, which focuses on restoring the health of individuals after it has been lost, will not achieve the goal of improved population health. To achieve this goal, health systems must proactively engage in partnerships with the populations they serve. Health systems will need the help of community entities and individuals who have the trust of the population being served to act on behalf of the health system if they are to achieve this effective working partnership. The need for these trusted agents is particularly pertinent for vulnerable and historically underserved segments of the population. In this Invited Commentary, the authors discuss ways by which health systems might identify, engage, and leverage trusted agents to improve the health of the population through value-based care.

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