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What Employers Can Learn From Ohio's State Health Assessment

Following the recent Health Action Council webinar, which outlined current efforts to provide a comprehensive picture of health, wellbeing and healthcare spending in Ohio, the Governor's Office of Health Transformation and the Ohio Department of Health released a draft of the 2016 State Health Assessment on Friday, June 23, 2016. The purpose of the State Health Assessment is to identify priorities for the upcoming State Health Improvement Plan using a uniform set of metrics. Accordingly, the Governor’s team has shown interest in aligning the State Health Improvement Plan with healthcare delivery and payment reforms in order to improve overall health value in Ohio. 

Using existing data, the State Health Assessment presents data profiles on health outcomes and a broad range of factors that impact said health outcomes, healthcare spending and existing disparities. Public health agencies, hospitals, and stakeholders have agreed that the top five health priorities in Ohio include: obesity, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, drug and alcohol abuse, and mental health.  It is safe to assume that these identified health risks reflect the challenges that businesses face when looking at their health claims and resulting expenditures.


According to Employee Benefit News (ebn), employers are now working to bridge the gap between their healthcare spend and the economic value acquired from a healthy workforce. Many of these organizations are beginning to seek further advice about population health management solutions in order to quantify opportunities and comparatively measure their approach.
In a recent report, Population health: Scaling up, PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) interviewed executives in leading healthcare, research and academic institutions on how organizations can actively increase the effectiveness of their efforts. The report states that “Financial incentives, technological advances and pioneering care models have provided fertile soil for the green shoots of population health to grow. But for these programs to flourish, they will need more sophisticated analytics, patient stratification, community involvement and care management.”
The report concludes that the key requirements for promoting population heath are: 

  • Strengthening risk stratification: this means addressing whole health needs that are medical, social, and environmental. Additionally, providers and insurers may find benefit in pooling resources to identify target populations through the use of electronic health records and claims databases. This type of initiative includes examples like Benevera Health or Partners Healthcare.
  • Developing a full-service care delivery network with strong care management: this means building an ecosystem of care that extends into the community (and the home) through the development of strong service level agreements with partners to fill service gaps and extend reach to patients, such as Ascension Health’s hospitals have done.
  • Engaging patients through community resources and running a data-driven operation: this means that population health programs should prioritize data efforts and provide information to clinicians and their partners in manageable bites, as institutions such as MD Anderson Cancer Center or The Center for Health Equity and Community Engaged Research at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York City have done.


During this webinar, Amy Rohling McGee, president of the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, shared how Ohio will be aligning data to help improve the relationship between business and health.  She believes that improved population health (health behaviors, health equity, health status and mortality) and sustainable health costs will lead to optimal health for all Ohioans. The Health Policy Institute of Ohio aims to educate state policymakers on how to make informed health policy decisions that lead to improved health value.
Based on McGee’s data-backed findings on population health in the State of Ohio and new research from PwC, one thing is clear: Improving population health requires the equal participation from patients, providers and policymakers alike. By working together to better align costs, quality, and access to healthcare, we can achieve greater health outcomes. This long-term goal is what matters most for patients, and unites the interests of all parties involved.
Check out our events page for a list of more upcoming events like this one. Or, for information about becoming a Health Action Council member, contact Kevin Gregory.

[email protected], 216.236.0379

Patty Starr bio image

About the author

Patty Starr

Patty Starr is president and CEO of Health Action Council and is responsible for driving the strategic direction of the organization--build stronger, healthier communities where business can thrive. 

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