Population health done three ways

Healthcare leaders explain the technology, process and grit needed to improve patient care
By Karen Handmaker
02:56 PM
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The rise of population health management in recent years has been one of the most significant strategic shifts in the healthcare industry. It not only brings its own benefits to patients and providers; it is also an enabler of other changes – not the least of which is the transition from fee-for-service to value-based billing.

The most important change that has resulted from PHM is the emphasis on proactively keeping patients healthy – or healthier – rather than simply being reactive (i.e., treating the sick). This approach applies not just to the patients providers regularly see, but to everyone on their patient panels. As accountable care organizations, bundled payments, shared risk and other payment innovations continue to expand in popularity, PHM becomes as important to the financial health of healthcare organizations as it is to the physical health of their patients.

Yet while many healthcare organizations see the benefits of PHM in the abstract, they may struggle to visualize how it can be applied to their specific circumstances. Some may feel their patient population is too small to justify the investment in technology and people PHM requires. Others may question whether PHM will scale sufficiently to encompass their entire patient population.

Becoming a must-have

Population health management continues to gain momentum as a strategy for improving care quality and outcomes while preparing healthcare organizations for the transition to value-based care. But there are still concerns regarding how well it can scale to fit the needs of the many types and sizes of providers in the U.S.

The three examples included here demonstrate that with visionary leadership, a commitment at all levels to driving clinical and financial improvement and the right technology platform, PHM has the ability to help nearly any organization manage its patient population more effectively. Their stories also deliver concrete evidence that placing a priority on managing populations can reduce the costly and debilitating effects of chronic conditions while promoting overall wellness within the community. Clearly, PHM is becoming a must-have for organizations that want to thrive in the brave new world of healthcare.

How one large organization is taking on the pop health challenge, next page.