The disease management field continues to evolve. The range of chronic diseases treated has expanded to include such conditions as obesity and pain management, and the care continuum now encompasses wellness, prevention, and population health. One population that is an ideal candidate for our collective efforts is that of older adults. Global and national population projections reveal the impending staggering increase in the age 65+ cohort, which will cause a sharp increase in the demand for health care and other services due to such age-related issues as multiple chronic conditions, falls, and depression.
To begin to address these issues, the Department of Health Policy at Jefferson Medical College devoted its annual Summer Seminar to providing a forum for collaborative discussion focusing on the needs of the aging population. Two of the presentations focused on Pennsylvania, although the demographics presented by Nora Dowd Eisenhower reflect national and global trends, and the recently passed legislation outlined by Rosemarie Greco can be used as a yardstick against which other states can judge their own progress. Dr Susan Reinhard's presentation keys in on the need for expansion of scope of practice and consumer-oriented care. Our keynote speaker, Dr Robert Butler, details the challenging issues we must face and resolve in order to cope with the impending crisis. And finally, a panel, comprising representatives from payor, practitioner, and consumer groups, offer their candid, unscripted reactions to the presentations in a segment titled "Bridging the Gap Between the Vision and Implementation." Summaries of these presentations follow.
I hope that you will invest your time in reviewing these materials, and begin to think about the significant role that disease management can play in reforming the health care system to meet the needs of the older adult population. I am, as always, interested in your feedback. You can reach me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recommended CitationNash, David B.; Eisenhower, Nora Dowd; Greco, Rosemarie; and Meiris, Deborah C., "Healing the health care system: Summaries from the Department of Health Policy Summer Seminar" (2007). College of Population Health Faculty Papers. Paper 36.