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Editor’s note: Here are the most-read Health Evolution articles thus far in 2021, as well as a look ahead to the Summit 2021 in August and our Eight Imperatives Emerging Post-Pandemic.  

Is the concept of social determinants of health inhibiting progress toward equity?  
Despite intentions to understand social determinants for improving outcomes in underserved communities, the mindset may be enabling the status quo. “I don’t like to use the term social determinants of health because it gives a sense that these are immutable or as unchangeable as your genetic code. I cannot accept that,” said Carrie Byington, MD, Executive Vice President, University of California Health. SCAN Group and Health Plan CEO Sachin Jain, MD, added: “Our industry has created an excuse for lower performance in certain groups by saying, ‘well, it’s the social determinants of health.’” Is it time to put the term on hold? 

When trauma makes ‘time travelers’ of health care workers 
In this guest column, Tosan O. Boyo, Senior Vice President of Hospital Operations at John Muir Health, reflects on health workers owning their trauma through the pandemic and moving into the future. “Trauma lives in the crevices of fears and memories. It knows your truest self. It embraces and transports you across eons before you know you left,” Boyo wrote.  

What’s driving the surge of digital health funding?  
To better understand what health care leaders should make of the money being poured into digital health, Health Evolution interviewed five experts representing five different areas of the health care system. In part 1 of this three-part series, we examine the rise of incubators and investment funds. Also read Part 2 and Part 3 of our digital health funding series   

Former Microsoft exec on bold goals with Truveta: ‘I’m not sure there have been efforts at this scale’  
Health Evolution spoke with Truveta CEO Terry Myerson about the collaboration between 14 large health systems and why he’s optimistic about the company’s plans to generate clinical insights through an AI-driven data platform. “We need a data set like this so we can take care of patients better,” he said. 

Increasing vaccine uptake in diverse communities: A working guide for CEOs 
This guide, developed by Health Evolution Forum’s Roundtable on Community Health and Advancing Health Equity, puts forth 10 recommendations for CEOs to increase confidence in, and accessibility to, the COVID-19 vaccine in the diverse communities they serve.  

Managing executives that don’t understand the value of diversity  
In this Health Evolution Confab Leadership Series installment, CEOs discuss tactics for advancing equity with data, trust, accountability, appropriate actions and more. CommonSpirit Health CEO Lloyd Dean, for one, conducted relevant discussions among senior leadership. “It was gut-wrenching. It was revealing. It was hard, but I’m happy to say in many cases it was also transformational,” he said.  

Northwell Direct CEO takes aim at the traditional model of health benefits  
Nick Stefanizzi discusses why employers are tired of the traditional model of paying for benefits and why this area is ripe for disruption. Northwell Direct already has what Stefanizzi described as robust care management infrastructure as a component of its offering for employers. “We are able to provide care at a lower cost than is offered by the traditional carriers,” he said.  

Geisinger’s Karen Murphy on the integrated health networks next steps with digital health  
Geisinger is starting the next step in its digital health journey with the launch of a new care delivery model, powered by remote patient monitoring, according to Karen Murphy, Executive Vice President and Chief Innovation Officer, Geisinger. The health system plans to “one in on what evidence suggests are use cases that really make a difference with remote patient monitoring and patient-reported outcomes,” Murphy said.  

The future of primary care: Considerable change coming within three years 
Nearly half of care will be delivered outside the office in three years and based on AI, telemedicine video visits, remote patient monitoring and other digital tools, according to Fellows in the Health Evolution Forum. “There are going to be so many more tools than we all thought were possible that become a routine part of care,” said Shawn Morris, CEO, Privia Health.  

New CMMI chief commits to alternative payment models  
Liz Fowler, head of The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), acknowledged that health care is at a crossroads with alternative payment models. “True innovation means failing until we get things right. It’s just as important [to recognize] what doesn’t work and to be transparent about those findings so we can continue to refine, evolve and grow,” she said.  

Upcoming Event
What to expect at the Health Evolution Summit 2021  
The hybrid in-person and virtual Summit 2021 will focus on resetting the agenda with leadership imperatives. Summit discussions will feature perspectives from top executives leading health plan, health system and life sciences organizations to address topics including: economic and policy outlook, bolstering health system resilience, incorporating and integrating new technologies, innovations in care as well as confronting the mental health, affordability and equity crises. Apply to participate 

Health Evolution Post-Pandemic Imperatives
The year(s) ahead: Eight imperatives emerging post-pandemic 
Earlier this year, Health Evolution identified where leaders can focus to transform into stronger, more equitable and sustainable enterprises serving wider patient populations with a new standard of care services — and begin doing so immediately. The result is our Eight Imperatives: strengthening system resilience, escalating equity, confronting the mental health crisis, optimizing new care modalities, engaging health consumers, realizing medical breakthroughs, securing data advantage and addressing affordability.  

Homepage photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash 

Tom Sullivan

Tom Sullivan brings more than two decades in editing and journalism experience to Health Evolution. Sullivan most recently served as Editor-in-Chief at HIMSS, leading Healthcare IT News, Health Finance, MobiHealthNews. Prior to HIMSS Media, Sullivan was News Editor of IDG’s InfoWorld, directing a dozen reporters’ coverage for the weekly print publication and daily website.