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Automating – and Winning – With Population Health Management

Population health management is defined as the aggregation of patient data across multiple health technology resources. Its purpose is to collect data so that healthcare providers have a comprehensive picture of each patient so they can improve efficiencies and, most importantly, patient care. Automating it is fundamental to the future of healthcare and will ensure each provider knows the status of each patient and therefore, can provide better outcomes.

So, why is automation a concern?

Healthcare is well known to adopt technological change more gradually than other industries, for reasons of risk-avoidance and slow-moving bureaucratic approval processes. The existing health systems are often antiquated, highly manual, disconnected and generally incompatible with each other. To make matters worse, an increasing lag in adoption of automation and efficiency improvements is colliding with a rapidly growing elderly population. These new challenges are driving costs upward, which is in turn causing the costs to be much more regulated and scrutinized. By automating the process of monitoring outcomes, and providing continuous feedback, healthcare providers can concentrate on care and in turn, increase the quality of care while simultaneously minimizing the time to payment, and decreasing the cost of that care.

How will we do it? 

  • Collect the data
    Collect outcome information, clinical pathways data, and medical research conclusions. Measure the effectiveness of existing methods and protocols, and the costs associated.
  • Predict trends
    Condense any related collected data so we can; identify patient/population risks, define targeted approaches, and develop pre-emptive strategies to minimize injury. This information can also determine cost to employers based on injury rates and measured risks for cohort groups. Outcomes improvement will be possible by continuously identifying winning strategies, and abandoning less-effective approaches.
  • Provide Feedback Loops
    Integrating providers into the continuous feedback system will assist providers with improving diagnosis and plans of care with clinical decision support systems (CDS) that improve with use, adoption, and time. Comparison of outcomes will drive providers to adopt and embrace changes that improve outcomes as well as their own bottom line.  By identifying common errors and mistakes, systems can be refined to preclude erroneous entry, require accurate and timely record of care, and guide providers toward less error-prone or less-problematic care solutions.
  • Share the information
    This information must be shareable among the patient care team, which requires modern, secure, reliable, and timely transfer of information that ensures that all members of the care team are kept abreast of changes, improvements, and challenges with each patient in real-time.

Winners and Losers
There will be clear winners and losers; those able to integrate/automate and those who cannot.

The technology and tools exist, but it is a matter of prioritization. Pressure must be maintained on vendors to adapt to change and adopt improvements and prevent forced adoption through regulation. Once, we all get on the same page though, we will all win.

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