Between patient data, electronic health records, and more, healthcare providers sift through a great deal of data each day. While some data is useful across the board, other bits of information are better used for specific purposes, one of which is population health. Population health management requires providers to obtain data from a number of different sources, such as hospitals, primary care physicians, patients, public health organizations, and payers. While having more data can be beneficial, not all data is created equal, so it’s essential to know which pieces of information are needed for success in population health management. Here are three data sources that seem to do the trick:
Claims Data – A Good Starting Point
This standardized structured data is the most readily available and one of the better places to start gathering population health data. This data includes demographic information of patients and what their health concerns may be, as well as costs and dates of service. Because most patients use one payer, it’s often easier to obtain this data from one source, which eliminates any interoperability issues that could arise. However, claims data is often months and sometimes years old, which is not the most proactive solution for managing population health on its own.
Electronic Health Records
Also known as EHRs, this data is picks up on some of the loose ends that claims data may have forgotten. EHRs go into more detail about the care process for patients, patient concerns, medical history, lab results, provider impressions of patients, and more. This data can provide answers to common population health questions such as, “How many patients are using tobacco and how many of them have attempted to access resources to help them quit? How many are quitting after taking classes or receiving treatments?” One downside of this data collection is that it tends to contain unstructured data that can be incomplete or more challenging to read.
This form of data is one of the richest, most telling forms for population health management. Average income of a patient’s living area, literacy levels, proficiency in English, crime rates, access to transportation, and education levels are all important indicators of patient outcomes. Currently, many EHRs do not allow providers to access this information at the point of care, but this information is being made available as the industry continues to realize the importance of socioeconomic data.
Managing population health can be done most effectively when using the right tools and technology. At Catholic Benefits Trust, we understand how useful these technologies are and how they work to benefit patients everywhere. Some of our benefits for members include valuable benchmark data, lower fixed costs, asset protection, and flexibility in choosing the right plan for your employees. Contact us today for more information on our plans and how we can help.