Author Archives: David Kindig

Improve Population Health

Dec 26, 2011, 1:00 PM, Posted by David Kindig

As we head into 2012, the Human Capital Blog asked Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) staff, program directors, scholars and grantees to share their New Year’s resolutions for our health care system, and what they think should be the priorities for action in the New Year. This post is by David A. Kindig, MD, PhD, co-director, RWJF Health & Society Scholars program at University of Wisconsin-Madison and emeritus professor of population health sciences, UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health.


From a population health perspective, my first reaction was… why is the question about health care resolutions? Since it is not the major determinant of health, shouldn’t our attention be elsewhere?

On reflection, however, I do have several wishes for the New Year in the health care domain, which is, of course, one—if not the primary—determinant of health.


1. Continue Don Berwick’s [former Director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS] aggressive attack on the 30 percent waste in the health care system. Thirty percent of $2 trillion is a lot of money, and could go a long way if deployed for the other determinants of health.

2. Continue to push Triple Aim advocates to fully embrace the third aim of population health improvement. It is often an afterthought or imperfectly conceptualized with all the emphasis on the Double Aims of cost and quality. Continue to support the beginning work of the Population Health group in the CMS Innovation Center to develop and incentivize these ideas further, with particular emphasis on the metrics for monitoring progress in the Third Aim.

3. Find ways to redirect part of the savings from health care waste into population health improvement.

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