Population health management is becoming an ever-popular topic of conversation, and for good reason. If implemented correctly, it would mean great outcomes for patients and providers alike.
Advancing population health allows providers to better serve their patient population by meeting patients where they are. Managing health concerns while they are not dire means less patients seeking emergency care.
With workflows for advancing population health reliant on effective use of patient communication across various channels, reaching an effective management solution may feel out of reach. Technology specifically designed with this purpose in mind can ease those workflows while also making them more efficacious. With that understanding in mind, let’s take a look at what population health management relies upon, and how technology can help.
Components of population health management
When considering public health management, there are many facets to take into account. And to fully understand where there is room for growth, we must know the tenets of population health management.
Care coordination and integration
Whether it’s within a practice or across a healthcare organization, coordinating patient care is integral to the success of a population health effort. This means that all healthcare providers for a given patient need to be able to communicate in a collaborative network. Teamwork like this allows for care to be integrated into one smooth experience, rather than a fragmented care journey.
Crucial to the success of population health is the role that the patient plays in their own care. Patients must be actively engaged in their care in order to realize the benefits of population health efforts. This is largely because many of these efforts rely upon the patient taking action and changing their behavior in some way.
Chronic disease management and preventative care
Managing chronic diseases like diabetes, heart disease, or asthma is a great use case for public health management. These diseases typically rely on a host of tools and healthcare workers in order to keep the disease progression in check.
Greg Stadter, Program Director for the Milwaukee Health Care Partnership (MHCP), works with the goal of better coordinating patient care. He notes that “When a patient establishes primary care and has ongoing management of their chronic conditions, there is a better outcome. Patients don’t get to the point where it is an emergency and need to go to the emergency room as often”. When done to its fullest extent, population health management allows for less emergency department visits for chronic care patients.
On top of chronic disease management, a large part of population health is preventative care. If we’re able to avoid chronic disease progression altogether, then our population health management workflow has succeeded.
Reduce healthcare costs
Lastly, but very important, is the goal of reducing healthcare costs by automating as much care communication as possible. Many groups rely on outdated methods of communication in order to maintain their population health goals. Updating to newer and more effective communication tools means saving time and effort, as well as provides opportunities for more effective patient outreach.
Technology’s role in improved population health management
The name ‘population health’ makes it easy to forget that at its most basic, population health is ultimately about individuals. Yes, those individuals may be grouped together to form a cohort, but they are separate entities.
This means that when they receive your population health outreach communications, they are seeing them individually. For that reason, it’s so important that the tools we choose to use for population health management be both highly individualized on the patient end, and efficient for you as a healthcare provider.
Patient outreach tools
Healthcare technology makes population health management easier than ever. Its adoption is also critical to the success of any efforts to reach out to patients on a regular basis regarding their health status or concerns.
The ability to connect with mass amounts of patients at once is imperative to population health management. For example, a one-to-many SMS texting tool like OhMD Broadcast allows for bulk patient messaging, and thus is perfect for reaching patients who need chronic or preventative care.
Along with Broadcast, Autopilot allows patients who may need continued care to easily alert their provider to their ongoing needs. This could be regarding scheduling an appointment, getting a medication refill, or a requesting referral to a specialist. And the best part is that all of that can happen without the care team manually chatting with the patient.
Colleague communication tools
The ability to share PHI securely between providers allows for a certain level of care coordination that was previously difficult or unattainable. Healthcare technology specifically designed for this purpose allows care providers to engage in important health information exchange for shared patients. This is especially important when it comes to population health management, as it allows for interdisciplinary providers to combine their efforts effectively.
Another important piece of the population health puzzle is referral management. Keeping track of how patients are coming and going from your practice makes sure patients are receiving timely care. It also allows you to stay up-to-date on their care progression and what population health messaging is appropriate for them at a given time.
Population health management promotes better patient outcomes and improved care delivery. Healthcare technology helps to achieve those goals.