Healthcare providers chasing bright, shiny population health objects, expert says

Leaders today may be chasing after exciting new systems to enable population health, but they must be thinking differently to succeed, CitiusTech Vice President Jeffrey Springer said at the Pop Health Forum 2016 in Chicago. 
By Bill Siwicki
02:20 PM
Population health

Many healthcare executives and caregivers today find themselves at the intersection of population health and information technology. IT is required to make a robust population health program succeed. But what types of IT should healthcare organizations be acquiring?

"Organizations' technology needs become about shiny things: Let's buy a population health system, let's buy a patient engagement system, and so on," said Jeffrey Springer, vice president of healthcare solutions at CitiusTech Inc. "Then you have a morass of different systems that become difficult to manage, and from an end-user perspective, do they have to log in to five different systems? This process of chasing shiny objects is very common."

The question becomes: How do organizations create change — in processes and technologies — for where population health will be five years from today, Springer asked.

"That's very difficult because it's very difficult to know where we'll be five years out," he said.

Springer spoke today at the 2016 HIMSS and Healthcare IT News Pop Health Forum in Chicago during a session entitled "Top 5 Emerging Trends in Population Health."

Population health, Springer said, involves checking off all the boxes on a three by three matrix. One axis is care, with the three components being acute, ambulatory and whole patient; and the other axis is execution, with the three components being clinical, financial and operational.

All nine boxes in that three-by-three matrix must be checked off for an organization to truly achieve population health, Springer said.

"Key factors in population health include: What are your outcomes? How do you improve quality? How do you manage the bottom line? Population health has essentially become a shiny object in and of itself," Springer told forum attendees. "But now as we move toward payment reform, the return on investment of population health has to come."

 More articles from the Pop Health Forum 2016 in Chicago: 

⇒ Triple Aim alone will never bend the cost curve

⇒ Reality check: Population health on today's IT

⇒ Population health is here, but can the care delivery system keep up? 

Twitter: @SiwickiHealthIT
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