June 30, 2021

Population Health Innovations: Three Virtual Sessions

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The Population Health Innovation Summit (PHIS) approached its fourth year in a new way: as a virtual series.

Previous PHIS events from 2019, 2018, and 2017 were held in person in Albany, NY.

NYSTEC hosted the 2021 Population Health Innovation Summit on a virtual platform to shine a light on innovations designed to tackle health issues further amplified by the pandemic. COVID-19 has been wreaking havoc, straining many industries, particularly the healthcare system and its workers. Many organizations have had to rethink how various services are offered, including those for their own employees. It has further isolated people who were already chronically lonely and has thrust much of the population into a new reality of social isolation. The pandemic has forced change—rapid, real change.

The Summit was held over three sessions, each focusing on an aspect of population health innovations.

Session 1: Targeting the Effects of Social Isolation (May 26, 2021)

Social isolation occurs when one feels disconnected from their family, friends, and community. Before the pandemic, this was already a significant well-being concern, especially among the older adult populations.

In this population health innovation session, Becky Preve, Executive Director, Association on Aging in NY (AgingNY) spoke about ways the pandemic has further impacted social isolation.

The session highlighted these organizations:

  • NYS Department of the Aging – Joy for All Companion Pets allows socially isolated older adults to receive similar gratification and comfort that they would from live pets by calming anxiety, decreasing loneliness, and providing a better quality of life.
  • Selfhelp Community Services – The Virtual Senior Center combats social isolation and the associated high risks to health by enabling homebound older adults to connect with peers, volunteers, professional caregivers, and community members in virtual social sessions.
  • New York Academy of Medicine – “Age-friendly Neighborhoods Convening”— These grassroots efforts driven by older people seek to improve neighborhood priorities, including the prevention of social isolation during physical distancing.

Session 2: Solutions for Employee Burnout (June 9, 2021)

Employee burnout in the workplace is not a new issue and occurs after long periods of stress or frustration. The pandemic has drastically impacted the prevalence of burnout among employees, especially frontline staff.

In this population health innovation session, two leaders from the Healthcare Association of New York State (HANYS) – Sarah DuVall, Director of Behavioral Health and Evan Brooksby, Director of Policy Analysis & Special Projects – spoke about how the pandemic has increased employee burnout in the healthcare delivery system across New York State.

The session highlighted these organizations:

  • St. Peter’s Health Partners – New employee daycare/virtual school and financial assistance programs and expanded collaborative care model.
  • Food Pantries for the Capital District – Hybrid/remote policy and employee support resulting in significant growth in fundraising, allowing for additional support for outdoor food distribution locations at member food pantries (impacting volunteer burnout).
  • ThriveNYC – Thrive in Your Workplace, a first of its kind public-private partnership offering a customized workplace mental health strategy, has continued supporting employers during the pandemic and added virtual training on a variety of topics, including burnout and collective trauma.

Session 3: Telehealth Growth, Innovation & Success (June 23, 2021)

The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated a dramatic increase in awareness and utilization of telehealth and telemedicine services. Unique partnerships and approaches were devised to meet the needs of a rapidly shifting healthcare landscape. Provider organizations moved quickly to scale and expand existing telehealth and telemedicine services or to launch new service offerings tailored to the populations they serve.

This population health innovation session provided insight into the current state of telehealth and telemedicine in New York State and highlighted key developments in the field resulting from the pandemic.

Leaders of the following three impactful initiatives shared how they leveraged telehealth and telemedicine to support their communities through challenging times:

  • MVP/CDPHP – Regional health plan collaboration to offer free telemedicine services to all members, including access to 24/7 virtual emergency services.
  • SUNY Upstate – Project ECHO pivoted to allow for provider-to-provider forums re: COVID-19 treatments, operations, and considerations for specific populations.
  • Partners Health Plan/Care Design NY – Implemented new telemedicine services to enable individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities to receive care in residential settings and reduce avoidable hospital use.

Watch the PHIS Sessions on Population Health Innovations

This three-session series on population health innovations united local government leaders, health industry experts, and frontline implementers to showcase promising innovations that improve the health and well-being of New Yorkers. Each session included highlights from three impressive innovations relating to that session’s topic, and PHIS attendees had the opportunity to vote for their favorite innovations.

Watch the three virtual sessions on population health innovations here.



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