Tips for finding the best population health management solution

Population health is a relatively new concept but is growing in popularity and importance, with the move toward value-based care. Population health management essentially means tracking the healthcare data in a specific population of patients, being accountable for the health outcomes of that defined population, and providing positive outcomes at the lowest possible cost.

Population health management requires a set of tools that enables the independent physician’s practice to be efficient and organized enough to manage the patient data and provide those positive outcomes. Sometimes that means outsourcing the management tasks to a population health management company.

Health IT Analytics offers several tips for finding the best population health management solution, emphasizing that “understanding patterns of risk and acting proactively to avoid expensive health events are crucial for success in a value-based world.” Tips include:

Create a goal-oriented roadmap. The goal for population health management will be different for each independent physician, depending on the physician and the patient population. Accessing data from electronic health records (EHRs) can help the provider in identifying the specific goals for the practice and for the patient population.

Map population health goals to specific health IT capabilities. Population health management solutions, either standalone or as part of an EHR, must enable one or more of the following capabilities:

  • Data aggregation
  • Data analytics
  • Reporting and visualization
  • Care management and care coordination
  • Patient engagement

Identify vendor-customer partnership values. When choosing a population health management vendor, the independent physician should consider a number of factors that will impact the relationship. Research at the beginning to ensure the values mesh will improve the success of the partnership long-term. The provider should investigate the vendor’s operations in terms of:

  • Sales and contracting
  • Implementation and training
  • Upgrades and optimization
  • Customer service and support
  • Dispute resolution

Ask for peer recommendations. Population health management is gaining in importance as independent providers become more focused on value-based care. When investigating potential health management solutions, it’s always a good idea to learn from those who have gone before and to seek out their lessons learned from their vendor experiences.