Population Health Management

Population Health Management is a very broad topic that covers several spectrums of health management. Some various definitions of Population Health Management are:

  • Population management is the ability to manage the health outcomes of a population of patients with a similar condition.
  • Population management is going at-risk with payers for the outcomes of  population of patients (also known as free-for-value or pay-for-performance)
  • Using Care management to improve outcomes for high-risk, high-cost patients
  • Engaging patients and communities to achieve better health outcomes

The common thread between these definitions and other definitions is the focus on outcomes. https://www.healthcatalyst.com/population-health-outcomes-3-keys-to-drive-improvement  An effective and efficient population health management program requires fundamental changes to the way patient care management is handled and practiced. A proper analysis of population management aids the understanding of where a health system is and aids in the adoption of better and improved practice systems to enable health practitioners to figure out what is needed. Healthcare organizations that have learned and mastered these steps and possess these abilities and capabilities have the essential components for an effective population health management program.

With the understanding that population health management is the aggregation of patient data across multiple health information technology resources, it is very important to note that the analysis of that data into a single, actionable patient record influences the actions through which care providers can improve both clinical and financial outcomes.

 How does population health management work? How can health practitioners and health care organizations apply these theoretical definitions into actual practice? These are the questions organizations like Health Catalyst constantly provide answers to. Typically, health organization uses different tools such as Business Intelligence (BI) analytical tools to apply population management. Dealing with big data is a top issue and without the right tools can be frustration but when handled properly yield the best benefits. I mention Big Data because population health management involves aggregation information from big data into understandable and easy to analyze information. A successful population management program will give real-time insights to health practitioners, clinicians, nurses, and administrators. These real-time insights will allow them to identify and address care gaps within the patient population. A well-developed care management program is the key to better outcomes and costs savings especially in populations with diseases that have the potential to spread rapidly or populations with chronic diseases.

While data may be used separately by different hospitals and health organizations, there are different data analysis tools used across the system. Many systems do not integrate information on administrative and logistical activities like billing, medical claims with other health-related information like health records, lab results, patient medical history, patient drug allergies etc. A shortcoming like this affects the quality of patient care management. And Patient Care Management is a critical component of population health management. Think of population health management as Patient Care Management on a grander scale. Even though the objective of care management does vary among healthcare organizations, their general goal and underlying mission revolve around improving patient self-management, improving medication management and reducing the cost of care both for patients and for the health organization. At the end of the day, it all come full circle. In order to have an effective and efficient population health management system, you have to have a working patient care management system and a health philosophy on its importance.

Some Key Benefits of Population Care Management are

Population Health Management

  • It produces better health outcomes
  • It improves the effectiveness of Disease Management
  • It closes care gaps
  • It reduces costs for health providers