New opportunities in the era of population health management

One of the highlights of my year thus far came in early February when I represented CannonDesign as we co-hosted an event with Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health focused on discovering new opportunities to build partnerships and strategically align missions in the era of population health management. The event brought together leaders from real estate, architecture, facilities management, sustainability, community health, academia, and healthcare to discuss the collective challenge of creating healthier people through healthier environments. Hosted at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health in Washington D.C., we enjoyed thought-provoking presentations and an interactive neighborhood walk. Most importantly, we engaged in great conversations that pushed new boundaries – investigating the sometimes surprising intersections between our industries and identifying new opportunities to collaborate and forge partnerships to more holistically address population health.

Health-Centered DesignKaiser Logo425w

The day focused around health-centered design – a strategy leveraging design as a tool to achieve better health at every scale – in buildings, neighborhoods, and regions. To achieve this lofty goal, collaboration across numerous industries is necessary; especially since in order for design to be a meaningful strategy for health, it must be conceived early on in any effort. Throughout the day we discussed great opportunities for cross-disciplinary collaboration in this area:

The Future Patient

It is well understood throughout the healthcare industry that patients are quickly shifting outside of the hospital – with renewed focus on ambulatory and primary care settings. We need to consider how care may shift to other environments closer to home – driven by technological advances and growing patient volumes that demand new ways of engagement.  This provides an opportunity to rethink the care model and how smart investments in real estate may also become smart investments in health infrastructure.

Retail RevolutionCentralKitchen425w

Retail strategy is top of mind for many health systems these days. Still, the question remains of how far are we willing to go in terms of how we think about that retail experience? While many health systems may be strategizing about how they can offer the convenience, accessibility, and amenities of retail – are they willing to think about how the options they offer and the ways they provide them are intrinsic to their goals for a healthier population? What would it take to create a wellness village – where people live, work, play, and receive care – designed with the goal of population health at the heart of it? This is where integrating real estate strategy and design thinking can improve results.

Big Data

Perhaps more than anyone, healthcare leaders recognize the untapped opportunities in big data. During our time together at the event, we specifically looked at examples of how we can start to leverage big data to better understand the communities where we offer care, design buildings, and develop real estate. Big data can be used to understand everything from transportation routes to healthy food access to housing patterns and we need to find the means to harness this knowledge to inform more holistic solutions. This is a big challenge and it demands big minds – it’s not going to happen overnight.

Where Do We Go From Here?

This gathering was not about creating a new committee, working group, initiative or series of meetings. It was about meeting, networking, and engaging in this very important conversation in hopes that we will all find opportunities to work together in the future. Both Kaiser Permanente Center for Total Health and CannonDesign are committed to further investment in Health-Centered Design.

At CannonDesign, we look forward to continually working alongside our partners in many different industries to develop solutions that address population health – one of the greatest challenges we collectively face.