Population health initiatives are becoming increasingly important to healthcare providers.
Population health initiatives are becoming increasingly important to healthcare providers, according to a recent HIMSS Analytics survey, sponsored by Intel. Eighty percent of respondents identified population health as relevant to patients’ health and well-being; another 76 percent of respondents identified population health as relevant to their organization. Survey participants included business leaders, IT leaders, IT professionals and clinical staff at healthcare organizations.
Irrespective of their role, respondents agreed that enacting population health initiatives requires the integration of a number of diverse technologies. The top 10 technologies that providers plan to invest in to support population health initiatives over the next two years include:
1. Automated care management outreach
46% of respondents plan to implement automated care management outreach within the next two years to support population health initiatives. Automated outbound messages, such as voice mails, emails or texts that are generated based on clinical protocols, are an example of this technology. For instance, chronic care patients might be reminded to schedule an appointment with their provider after a certain period of time has passed.
42% of providers plan to implement telemedicine technology. The COO of an intermediate-size (251 to 500 beds) provider noted her organization was initially slow to move on telemedicine because of reimbursement concerns. “I'm in Texas, and they just passed legislation so we can bill for [telemedicine]. Previously, we couldn't,” she said. “Now we hope to have telemedicine in place by the end of the year.”
3. Patient dashboard/scorecard
35% of providers expect to implement technology that supports a patient dashboard or scorecard. Patient dashboards/scorecards can help clinicians implement population health initiatives by providing an easily communicated visualization of relevant data, including patient risk scores, acuity and wellness trends.
4. Risk stratification/predictive analytics
35% of providers plan to have risk stratification/predictive analytics technology in place to support population health initiatives. The IT manager at a 500-plus bed hospital said: "Our organizations is beginning to see the value of predictive analytics for population health. We're seeing the responsibility for 160,000 patient lives and the dollars associated with that. There's the revelation that to effectively manage a population of that size you need [analytics] capability.”
5. Patient engagement/analytics
34% of providers plan to have technology that supports patient engagement in place. The CIO of an intermediate-size (101 to 250 bed) hospital said, “Patient engagement and clinician engagement are the basic pieces of [population health]. You need to implement those tools just to get [population health] going.”
6. Clinical intelligence/analytics
One-third (33 percent) of providers expect to implement clinical intelligence/analytics technology to support population health initiatives. Population health intelligence needs to be integrated into clinical workflows to impact population health outcomes; thus, the emphasis on clinical intelligence/analytics in implementing population health initiatives.
7. Data warehouse/data aggregation
Another one-third (33 percent) plan to implement data warehouse/data aggregation capabilities. The CMIO of an intermediate-size (251 to 500 bed) provider said, “There are so many different data sources. ... We took a cloud-based, vendor-agnostic [data warehouse] approach. That's our home for all essential health data that we think contributes to population health.”
8. Remote patient monitoring clinical grade (into home)
32% intend to implement remote patient monitoring (clinical grade, in-home). Remote patient monitoring can be used to increase physician access to clinical data in support of population health initiatives.
9. Business intelligence/analytics
Just under one-third (31 percent) plan to implement business intelligence/analytics to support population health initiatives. The CMIO of a 500-plus bed provider said, "[Business analytics] is very important to the business development people, to understand trends and where things are headed." The CFO of a small (less than 50 beds) provider said, “It will change the way we do business.”
10. Remote patient monitoring consumer grade (off the shelf)
28% will implement consumer-grade, off-the-shelf, remote patient monitoring. Consumer-grade remote patient monitoring contributes to patient engagement, supporting population health initiatives.
Ultimately, effective population health initiatives result from the integration of many technologies and practices. The CMIO of an intermediate-size (251 to 500 bed) hospital said, “[Population Health] is a merging of a variety of things — clinical integration, direct communication with our referring doctors, patient engagement through patient portals, and patient communication through secure messaging All of that is coming together. Whereas before they have been separate silos, it's really starting to fuse as a singular initiative so that we're making the best use of our resources.”