Two Sinai Health System researchers and physicians are helping to define a new discipline of medicine in a guest-edited virtual edition of the prestigious journal the Annals of Family Medicine.
In the publication out this month, Dr. Aaron Orkin, an emergency physician at Mount Sinai Hospital and researcher with the Schwartz/Reisman Emergency Medicine Institute (SREMI), and Dr. Ross Upshur, Director of Bridgepoint Active Healthcare’s Collaboratory for Research and Innovation (part of the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute) advocate for Clinical Population Medicine, a community of practice dedicated to using population health approaches in delivering care to individual patients.
“Our communities are faced with some critical challenges, including an aging population, the increasing number of people with multiple chronic medical conditions, rising health and social inequity, and complex health crises like the opioid epidemic. These issues will not be solved by public health agencies or clinical institutions alone,” says Dr. Orkin. “We need more practitioners with the skills to bridge the gap between these two worlds, and institutions determined to deliver on both patient care and population health goals.”
Population health approaches are already being used successfully in some areas of clinical care. One example is in cancer screening programs. Population health data guide clinicians in determining which patients need cancer screenings and when, while disease registries track cancer rates and treatments. Dr. Orkin says that a similar approaches to vulnerable populations and priority community health conditions would enhance patient and community health.
In editing this virtual journal edition, Drs. Orkin, Upshur and their co-editors selected previously published papers that demonstrate how clinical population medicine can help address health inequities so that underserved populations have greater access to care; make care delivery more efficient; and improve both patient outcomes and the health of our communities. Dr. Orkin and his co-editors conclude that “The question is not whether Clinical Population Medicine should exist, but rather how to create and support the integrator practitioners and institutions that can deliver [this] expertise.”
“We wanted to show that people are already doing this work, that it’s important and exciting work,” says Dr. Orkin. “We hope this issue of the journal will help those of us engaged in this work to define ourselves as a community of practice, and crystallize the skillset and expertise of our work.”
Read the virtual edition of the Annals of Family Medicine on Clinical Population Medicine here.