Innovation Pulse: Population health’s 4-letter word

Innovation Pulse: Population health’s 4-letter word

A future where providers more effectively manage individuals and groups of patients hinges on this one thing

The notion of gleaning insights from mountains of health information, then applying those precisely to individual patients hinges on the confluence of various factors.

Indeed, against the backdrop of emerging accountable care organizations, health information exchanges, entities serving as both payer and provider, new models for care delivery and payment, as well as the requisite technological underpinnings, resides what is currently being called population health management.

“The most advanced organizations have already begun deploying analytics and care coordination,” said David Bennett, executive vice president of healthier populations at Orion Health. “Some are also starting to offer patient engagement capabilities to support enhanced care coordination.”

Count Cal INDEX and Covenant Health among those. Cal INDEX, a non-profit statewide HIE in California is embarking on the goal to “construct longitudinal records” for all patients that, in turn, can help doctors better coordinate and manage care.  And Covenant, for its part, has already used population health tools to streamline operations and save both finances and less-tangible resources.

Those models needn’t all work perfectly for population health to gain widespread purchase, of course, but reality dictates that it will come down to four letters: data. Data liquidity, specifically.

“Some level of liquid data is required to shift to population health,” said Cal INDEX CEO David Watson.

EHRs and other data threats

Among the harsh realities in today’s healthcare system is that many providers are essentially flying blind, piecing together fragments of patient information one by one, all the while knowing they do not comprise the entire picture.

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