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Executive Q&A with Shehzad Saeed, MD, FAAP, AGAF Chief Medical Officer at Dayton Children’s Hospital

Clinicians know all too well that there are limits to what they can do for patients and their families. As much as they would like to guarantee their patients’ welfare, there are factors they simply can’t control, including social determinants of health such as access to healthy food and clean water. Research has found, in fact, that social determinants of health may account for up to 85% of patient wellbeing. Hear from Dr. Shehzad Saeed from Dayton Children’s Hospital, and how the organization is meeting the changing demands of their patients’ families.

  1. As a physician and a Chief Medical Officer, how have you seen the healthcare landscape in pediatrics evolve over the last five years?

I think over the last five to 10 years, population health and social determinants of health (SDOH), mental-health services, and evolving payment models have been the new focus areas of attention. As we all increasingly recognize, 80% of patients’ health and care occurs outside of the hospital setting, and health systems need to be partnering with patients, families, and community resources to have a meaningful impact upon the health and care of our most important stakeholders. This focus on SDOH is coupled with increasing recognition of the burden of mental-health and substance-abuse issues, and the toll these take on the wellness of communities. A number of healthcare systems, including ours, are pivoting to address these emerging needs.

  1. How has the evolution of healthcare and the changing demands of consumers and families impacted the way you interact with families today?

We are recognizing that we may need to meet families “where they are,” and not pigeonhole them into buckets that we are comfortable and familiar with. The Millennial generation is more invested in its healthcare, and conscious about the cost of that care. They are more apt to do due diligence and online surveys, and are more focused on relationship-building and the “service” aspect of care. This changing demographic has encouraged providers to reframe their interaction and consider the prospect of innovative approaches to assessing care and garnering buy-in in ongoing care and feedback. Providers are more open to coaching on reframing their approach to patient care, and are more sensitive to survey feedback as some of their productivity and performance is being measured against these benchmarks. This represents a major shift from the traditional hierarchical approach to medicine. This “co-production of care” model is generating interest at several levels, including research and the “co-design” of care delivery.

  1. Why do you think it’s important for physicians to have patient/consumer insights?

For improvement: improvement in care, improvement in outcomes, improvement in self-management skills, improvement in the design of facilities and services, and ultimately improvement in functioning. Without consumer insights, we cannot deliver quality care or improve outcomes for our most important and ultimate stakeholders—our patients and their families.

  1. What is one piece of advice you have learned in your career that health system leaders should know?

Listen to your patients and their families. With very rare exception, they are the real experts on their healthcare processes.

No delivery system can solve the problems of population health on its own—healthcare organizations need input from payers, the community, and the government. How are you co-designing care for your families? How is your organization addressing social determinants of health? We want to hear about it! Contact us at mcharko@nrchealth.com to schedule your interview.