Many have recognized that population health is the next step in the advancement of healthcare management. Unfortunately, developing a sustainable population health management strategy requires overcoming several challenges. Not all providers have access to the necessary technology and other resources required to establish an effective strategy.
What Is Population Health?
Population health focuses on preventing health problems before they require more financially-draining treatment solutions. It could mean instigating a wellness program or a treatment plan designed to encourage people to adopt healthier lifestyles. But simply hosting a wellness program isn’t enough. Population health management also means keeping track of patients and participants data for research and analysis. The aggregation of patient data into a single place for everyone to access and assess could lead to superior health and treatment solutions.
The Challenges of Population Health
Enabling strong communication amongst health professionals and providers is one of the biggest challenges of population health management. Physicians have been trained to diagnose and treat their patients in a single-minded fashion. Part of the new strategy requires experts to consider their patients more holistically. They would need to go beyond the traditional two-step process to collaborate with other professionals and consider other factors in their patients lives such as environment or occupation.
The effective and sustainable aggregation of patient data is another challenge to overcome when it comes to population health management. Having basic electronic health records isn’t always sufficient for high-level analytics required to develop effective health initiatives.
In order to transition to an effective population health management strategy, we have to develop a new culture in healthcare to encapsulate the needs of patients in alignment with this strategy. This involves training medical professionals and staff to adapt to a new system where the goal is to focus on the patient instead of the diagnosis. This evolving healthcare strategy wouldn’t be possible without modern technology. The infrastructure of population health management needs sophisticated platforms for aggregating and interpreting patient data.
The advantages to adopting population health management far outweigh the challenges. Population health would improve patient care while saving money and valuable resources to the benefit of patients, physicians, and providers. You can contact us to find out how the Catholic Benefits Trust is working to change our culture to encompass population health.