Population Health Management
Written By: Brittani Day
I was recently reading the article, Our Top Health Care Predictions for 2018, written by Rod Hochman - President and CEO at Providence St. Joseph Health. I was intrigued by the predictions made for the new year. The leaders at Providence St. Joseph Health expect that there will be no let-up in the massive changes in American health care in 2018. In this article they listed their top 9 health care predictions for the upcoming year, 2018. One that stood out was a greater focus on population health management.
What is Population Health Management?
The World Health Organization defines health as “the state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Population health can be defined as the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group. Population health connects health outcomes, patterns of health factors, and policies and interventions that link the outcomes and patterns of the overall health of the group.
People can be in multiple different health populations. For instance, you could be part of a specific population as an employee, a community member, a student, etc. Your demographic, social, and economic status also play into what population you are a part of. One way you may see a greater focus on population health this year is through a wellness program being incorporated into your company's benefits package. Another example you may see could be the addition of mental wellness classes added to the lineup of classes taught in your community center, or a homeless shelter being built in your city.
Why is Population Health Important?
Population health management is critical to the overall health of the U.S. Despite having one of the costliest medical care systems in the world, Americans are not particularly healthy. In the Consensus Study Report, For the Public’s Health - The Role of Measurement in Action and Accountability, it explains that “recent international comparisons show that life expectancy in the U.S. ranks 49th among all nations, and infant mortality rates are higher in the U.S. than in many far less affluent nations. While these statistics are alarming, the bigger problem is that we do not know how to reverse this trend. Our lack of knowledge is due in large part to significant inadequacies in the health system for gathering, analyzing, and communicating health information about the different populations.”
Therefore, the purpose of putting a greater focus on population health in 2018 is to improve the gathering, analyzing, and communicating health information about the different populations throughout our country. In addition, these results should guide the collection of data for the future.
With a greater focus on population health this year, researchers and policy makers will be better able to prioritize the way they analyze and present population health data.
One company that is working to improve population health management is Lyft, the ridesharing company based in San Francisco, California. In a recent article by Med City News, Lyft Business Vice President Gyre Renwick, said “its deal with Allscripts (A company that provides physician practices, hospitals, and other healthcare providers with practice management and electronic health record technology.) will help to integrate its services with hospitals and physician practices to impact healthcare costs. ‘Over the next two years, we believe we can cut in half the 3.65 million Americans missing medical appointments due to transportation issues,’ he said.”
The article goes on to say that “A new partnership with Allscripts will help Lyft further integrate its service into electronic health records so that booking the car service can be a seamless part of making healthcare appointments. It also extends the company’s service to 45,000 physician practices, 180,000 physicians and 2,500 hospitals that use Allscripts EHR, according to an emailed company statement.” Lyft is actively working to improve health management for populations around the country.
What Can You Do To Help Improve Population Health?
No one single group can be responsible for the improvement of population health. In his prediction about population health, Rod Hochman, President and CEO at Providence St. Joseph Health said “Health systems help entire communities stay healthy and population health management will soar in importance this year. For those providers truly committed to improving population health, we’ll see more partnerships that involve care management, housing (especially for the homeless), community services opportunities and increased access – particularly in ambulatory care, home, and virtual settings. More emphasis will also be placed on the measurable outcomes achieved through these important alliances.”
Anyone can take part in improving population health. Visit the Roadmaps section of countyhealthrankings.org to see what you can do to move your community’s health forward.Prev Article Next Article