Population Health Care Management

Population Health Care Management involves the prevention of diseases, actions taken to prolong life, and the promotion of health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private communities, and individuals.  Population health care management is the aggregation of patient data across multiple health information technology resources.

For Population Health Care Management to be effective, it involves the accumulation and use of lots of data (Big Data). Considering the scale of this, there are usually some shortcomings. While data may be used separately by different hospitals and health organizations, there are different data analysis tools used across the system. Many systems do not integrate information on administrative and logistical activities like billing, medical claims with other health-related information like health records, lab results, patient medical history, patient drug allergies etc. A shortcoming like this affects the quality of population health care management. A proper analysis of population health care management aids the understanding of where a health system is and aids in the adoption of better and improved practice systems to enable health practitioners to figure out what is needed.  An effective and efficient population health management program requires fundamental changes to the way patient care management is handled and practiced. To have effective population health management, healthcare organizations have to be smart about accelerating development of the right areas and manage expectations about what can be achieved.

Population Health Care Management and Patient Care

Patient Care Management is a critical component of population health management. Think of population health management as Patient Care Management on a grander scale. Even though the objective of care management does vary among healthcare organizations, their general goal and underlying mission revolve around improving patient self-management, improving medication management and reducing the cost of care for both patients and for the health organization. At the end of the day, it all comes full circle. In order to have an effective and efficient population health management system, you have to have a working patient care management system and a health philosophy on its importance. An effective and efficient population healthcare management program requires fundamental changes to the way patient care management is handled and practiced. To have effective population health management, healthcare organizations have to be smart about accelerating development of the right areas and manage expectations about what can be achieved.

Population Health Care Management and the Rise of Chronic Diseases

The concept of population health management became more and more intriguing to health systems and healthcare organizations because of the escalating costs of treating chronic diseases and because of the increasing notoriety of these chronic diseases. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), chronic diseases are the leading cause of death and disability in the united states. For example seven out of the 10 Americans that die each year die from a chronic disease. Heart disease, Cancer, and stroke account for more than 50 percent of these deaths. Arthritis is the most common cause of disability, with almost 19 million Americans reporting activity limitations. Also, Diabetes continues to be the leading cause of kidney failure. These deaths and disability caused by the chronic disease can no longer go unnoticed and/or ignored.

The Healthcare Industry needs to do a better job of collecting true patient outcomes data, rather than proxies for care. For example, it inherently does not matter if a person with diabetes has had a foot exam—but it matters very much if that foot exam discovers an open wound that will not heal. Additionally, organizations must also understand cost at a granular, individual level instead of guessing at costs by looking at the average cost of overall patients or members. That approach is almost meaningless when managing margins. Healthcare organizations that have learned and mastered these steps and possess these abilities and capabilities have the essential components of an effective population health care management program.