Health Trends for 2015: Population Health or Distraction?

There continues to be enormous transformations taking place in the US Healthcare sector.  The perfect storm has already been outlined:  an aging population with increasing needs for care, a change in Medicare reimbursements for services, and hospitals consolidating in order to survive.  This Holiday week, CNN Medical News Editor, Dr. Sanjay Gupta adds to the list with his own concerns and predictions for 2015--fewer primary care physicians, antibiotic resistant bacteria, hospital errors, and food deserts--just to name a few.  Not enough is being said however about the quest to address population health.   At a recent presentation given by Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, Founder of the Camden Coalition, he laid out the unique cultural shifts that are needed in order to bring public health and healthcare systems to address population health. He called it a 20 year journey comparable to the transformation that hit manufacturing 20 years ago. The future of healthcare requires bringing together skills that have often been isolated from each other:  epidemiology, public health, community outreach, cross cultural health, prevention and health economics.  Amid such profound change, there is no excuse for distraction and yet there remains the likelihood that Congress will attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act of 2010. In the last 4 years it has attempted to repeal the ACA 54 times.  If we want to address population health in 2015, perhaps the first trend we need to see addressed is whether our elected officials can remain accountable to support the foundation for a new era of healthcare.