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What is population health management?

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What is population health management? What is population health management? November 28, 2017

Affordable, quality healthcare is the goal of most providers caring for patients. One of the keys to improving patient outcomes and streamlining the practice’s operations may be population health management. A relatively new term, population health management has actually become widely used. However, precisely what population health management means is not clear even among healthcare professionals.

Healthcare IT News reports that the “concept of population health first came about in 2003 when David Kindig and Greg Stoddart defined it as ‘the health outcome of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group.’” Some feel that this definition is overly focused on outcomes and does not describe fully the need for the physician to effectively manage the care of those individuals.

In a survey of 37 healthcare leaders across the country, Healthcare IT News discovered a range of definitions for population health management. Among the survey participants was Paul Brashnyk, MPH, Interim Director of Clinic Operations, UW Neighborhood Clinics, who said that “Population health is taking responsibility for managing the overall health of a defined population and being accountable for the health outcomes of that defined population.”

Jennifer Weiss Wilkerson, Vice President, MedStar Health, added a financial aspect to her definition of population health management, saying that:

Population health is an approach to managing the health of a population — a community, a group of employees, insurance plan enrollees, etc. — in order to improve the health outcomes of each member of that population. Population health is also about providing value — the highest possible outcome at the lowest possible cost.

Elation Health’s Clinical First electronic health record (EHR) solution helps physicians with population health management in terms of enabling higher quality outcomes and in terms of running a more efficient practice, to help them reach that goal of “the highest possible outcome at the lowest possible cost.”