The 12 Steps Health Systems Can Take to Achieve Population Health Management (H&HN)

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Only when provider organizations anticipate, lessen demand for and allocate medical services effectively among vulnerable groups can they achieve the best results.

For the first time in history, the tools required to understand and mitigate the myriad contributors to ill health in a community are available. Computer systems endowed with artificial intelligence, or AI, are already hard at work — collecting, reading, digitizing and parsing massive amounts of data from disparate sources. These systems are even learning and refining their ability to categorize and draw inferences from the information as they churn through it, then reporting the results in natural language.

Perhaps the most iconic of cognitive computers is IBM’s Watson, now the cornerstone of an ambitious, eponymous new corporate health arm. But numerous vendors offer population health management (PHM) “solutions” — software suites that can, to varying degrees, pull together information from multiple existing health system sources to structure a data warehouse with increasingly sophisticated analytic, care coordination and patient engagement outputs.

For all the lip service paid to PHM, however, few organizations in the United States are really committed to it — not, anyway, in the original sense of the term.

No Denmark

That’s the verdict of Dale Sanders, executive vice president of software at Health Catalyst, a data warehousing vendor based in Salt Lake City. The problem, he suggests, is that as initially conceived, “what PHM really means is getting a health system to function like a public health system, which means getting the U.S. system to act more like Canada, the United Kingdom or Denmark. And culturally, we’re a long way from that.”

It is to Canada, in fact, that credit can be given for having pioneered the idea that the health of any group of individuals must be understood as the product of many more factors than simply the accessibility of skilled doctors and hospitals. Those factors include, according to the Canadian Federal/Provincial/Territorial Advisory Committee… Read the Full Article Here