Photo Credit: Adam Schultz
Feb 22
February 22, 2016

Sharing Solutions at the Health Matters Summit


Last month, more than 450 leaders in healthcare, public policy, business, technology, education, and professional sports came together at the Clinton Foundation’s fifth annual Health Matters Summit to discuss ways to improve the health and well-being of communities across the United States.

In order to dive deeper into the conversations about health challenges, trends, data, and solutions, the Foundation hosted four interactive roundtables at the Health Matters Summit on scaling health solutions, digital health, reducing health disparities, and employee health improvement. Below are recaps of these working sessions and reflections from several participants.  


Decoding the How of Scaling Health Solutions: Don’t Underestimate Adaptation

Decoding the How of Scaling Health Solutions explored how private, public, and philanthropic health ventures can leverage data, metrics, and evaluation to advance their goals. Participants also discussed how these pieces connect at the community level. Following the conversation, Victoria Brown, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, reflected that throughout her career in public health, there has been a consistent emphasis around having data, metrics, and evaluation to identify best practices. She came away from the conversation excited by a transformational takeaway on the importance of adaption. “This conversation was a marked shift with folks accepting that data and evaluation was critical – everyone makes those investments and applies the findings to their work,” Brown said. “But, given the availability of the data, it still must be applied and adopted to meet the individual needs of a particular community and setting. Ultimately, success requires the convergence between flexibility and recognizing that there are no one size fits all solutions and using the data and findings to inform how you adapt best practice to particular communities.”

Jeffrey Selberg, executive director of the Peterson Center on Healthcare, who participated on the panel, was most surprised to hear from colleagues about their strong interest in learning how to execute an adapted strategy within a particular community. He also noted that given the interest, it would be great to organize learning communities on this topic to further share solutions. “We are all learning how to balance fidelity to a model and facilitating adaptation to meet the needs of a specific community, while also matching the method to scale to the complexity of the intervention,” Selberg said.


Demystifying Digital Health: The Power of Pilot Programs

Demystifying Digital Health discussion continued the conversation from Sunday’s town hall on the intersection of health, innovation, and technology. Pilot programs became a focus of the conversation, particularly how they differ in a clinical versus a business setting. Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson, executive director, digital health at the Seattle Children’s Hospital shared that, “While piloting may sound stifling to an investor or company, it’s perfect in a hospital setting where pilots feel less daunting and committal. They provide an inroad to trying something new.”

Sean Duffy, co-founder and chief executive officer of Omada Health, came away excited by the positive energy around the intersection of technology and health. “It was a pragmatic optimism – substance, not hype.” Duffy also shared that he was extremely pleased to see that there is actionable momentum behind these conversations to improve health outcomes for communities everywhere. “I walked away from the conference with the conviction that in the next several years, Omada Health – and other digital health companies – will have the opportunity to work closely with communities across the country towards a shared goal: enabling people everywhere to live free of chronic disease,” Duffy said.


Reducing Health Disparities: Leverage Those In Your Community

Reducing Health Disparities looked at how health professionals have reduced health disparities in their communities, and how they have used the social determinants of health to guide their work the systemic level –with a focus on health equity. Dr. Leana Wen, health commissioner in the City of Baltimore discussed how they’ve reduced health disparities in Baltimore, and highlighted related benefits to this work. She explained that when Baltimore hired people within their own community, the city was able to reduce 880 conflicts within 1.5 square miles – making the city inherently safer.

Dr. Leana Wen and Dr. Abdul El-Sayed, both who spoke on the panel, shared additional lessons learned from reducing health disparities in Baltimore and Detroit:

Employee Health Improvement: Empowering Families

Employee Health Improvement focused on the state of employee health within organizations and how programs and policies have shifted to put employee and family health at the forefront. Dr. Charlotte Yeh, chief medical officer at AARP Services Incorporated, talked about the importance of data in  determining how to advance employee health programs. The conversation also focused on providing military families with opportunities to succeed in the workplace – a population that is too often left behind. Blue Star Families Chief Executive Officer Kathy Roth-Douquet came away from the conversation thrilled that participants agreed more needs to be done to make employee health a real focus across the board, and they were interested in looking for concrete steps to help advance their companies – from hiring military spouses to creating better policies for parental leave.

Each of these panels touched on how we can improve health outcomes across our communities. In the following months, we’ll be sharing more stories on how Health Matters Summit participants will be taking action. You can watch panels from the Health Matters Summit here and see our overall recap blog here.