IT seen as critical to population health

Managing population health requires new skill sets, new infrastructures and automation, according to new research from the Institute for Health Technology Transformation (iHT2).

[See also: 5 keys to IT and the physician-patient relationship]

The findings are from the Automating Population Health Research Project, which seeks to educate the healthcare industry on how best to apply technology in meeting the challenges of population health management.


“Population Health Management: A Roadmap for Provider-Based Automation in a New Era of Healthcare” was prepared in consultation with a broad range of industry experts, iHT2 officials say.

[See also: Initiative to harness tech to aid safety-net providers]

To make the transition from fee-for-service reimbursement to accountable care, which depends on the ability to improve population health, providers will need to automate many routine tasks, ranging from identification of care gaps and risk stratification to patient engagement, care management, and outcomes measurement, researchers found.


"In the era of healthcare reform, provider organizations must change their traditional approach and embrace new ways of thinking about their mission," said Waco Hoover, CEO of the Institute for Health Technology Transformation. "They must not only care for the sick, but also strive to keep their patient populations healthy. Information technology is the key to doing this cost efficiently, and automation can enable care teams to identify and work with the patients who truly need their help."


Report coauthor Paul Grundy, MD, global director of healthcare transformation at IBM, and president of Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative, said, "Patient-centered medical homes based on primary care are the building blocks of accountable care, and information technology is the key to successful medical homes. With the help of registries, electronic health records, health information exchanges, and other tools for care coordination and automation, healthcare providers can manage their populations effectively and keep their patients as healthy as possible."