In the last 12-15 years, population health has transformed the world of healthcare. Providers and payers alike now understand that while the US healthcare system is great at treating acute injuries, there is much room for improvement in the fight against chronic diseases.
Population health programs aim to create a coordinated, holistic approach to healthcare. An effective population health program serves as the “quarterback” of a patient’s healthcare strategy, coordinating the providers, payer, and patient into one team.
- Get Patient Focused
- Build a Data-Driven Organization
- Increase Trust Between The Payer and Provider
Other industries have long ago adopted a customer-centric approach to business. Retail, finance, and technology all design their processes and procedures to make the customer’s life as easy as possible. Prices are transparent, processes are clear, and mistakes are rare. Healthcare has a long way to go to catch up in this regard. Adopting a customer-focused mindset where principles like transparency, care coordination, and customer-service are embraced is essential to any population health program.
With the growth of technology, data and analytics have become central to any population health strategy. Analytics need to be actionable (i.e. they directly inform decisions) to be useful. If not managed carefully, analytics can become a money sink where analytic outputs are not trusted or used by the operators.
Population health organizations must focus on building a data-driven culture. Steps to do this include hiring executive leadership that owns the analytics roadmap (CIO, CTO, Chief Analytics Officer, etc.). The hired executive leader should have a proven track record in bringing data products to the market/scale.
Historically, the relationship between payer and provider has been antagonistic. Payer’s struggle to get clean provider data while providers feel burdened by a mountain of paperwork from the payers. Both sides have a point. To get on the same page, use reporting and data standardizing processes to align the payer and the provider. Getting the wrong information is frustrating for everyone and ensuring that payers and providers are working from the same source of information is helpful.
Population health is about making sure the right person gets the right information at the right time so they can make the best decision. A solid population health strategy backed by solid technology allows an organization to serve in the “QB” role and improve its members’ health by meeting them where they are.