As the government works to change the healthcare system of America, the most important thing to keep in mind is that this new system must cover all Americans in order to properly support population health management efforts. Wide bi-partisan support for value-based care and The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) suggests the shift from fee-for-service will likely maintain momentum despite changes to Obamacare. MACRA promotes the use of health information technology systems, quality reporting for providers, and improved care coordination – all of which facilitate population health management (PHM). In order to align with health IT goals and support PHM, a value-based model must be prioritized in the new administration

What is Population Health Management?

The term population health management encompasses the efforts taken towards maintaining the overall well-being of the general population. These efforts include aggregating data from electronic health records (EHRs), quality reporting systems, accountable care organizations (ACOs), etc. One of the ways this can be done is through the effective implementation of healthcare information technology. EHRs, telemedicine, and patient portals are all chief components of this technology.

The Role of Health IT in Population Health Management

The healthcare industry is consistently focused on the need for better patient experience, improving the health of populations, and reducing healthcare costs – known collectively as the “Triple Aim” of healthcare. The shift to a value-based payment model and the use of population health management systems are both in support of this goal through the use of healthcare technology.

EHR software plays a large part in population health management by:

  • Systematic documentation of critical patient information
  • Ensuring that all patient data, such as vitals, labs, vaccination records, medication, etc. is consistent and kept up-to-date
  • Coordinating between long distance medical professionals
  • Consolidating data for quality reporting based on measures outlined in MACRA
  • Facilitating analysis of population health data

Other technology solutions include Telemedicine, which has changed the way patients and providers are able to interact, allowing for improved access to healthcare. Providers can utilize modern communication technology to treat patients, track vitals to monitor their health, and keep patients better informed about their healthcare despite lack of physical access. Patient portals have enabled better direct communication with patients, providing them with resources for their healthcare. Patients can securely access their health records, receive alerts lab results, request prescription refills, and view education materials on self-management and preventive measures. PrognoCIS EHR offers a telemedicine solution and an integrated patient portal in support of population health management. The software has also recently integrated with Surescripts’ Medication Management for Adherence solution, which enables providers to monitor prescription usage, drug interactions, adherence summaries, etc.

The continued use of health information technology will help enable effective population health management in conjunction with value-based care. A Markets&Markets report expects the global Population Health Management market to reach $42.54 billion by 2021. Consolidating patient data such that it can be evaluated by analysts can result in crucial information regarding the status of population health. With this information, professionals will be able to produce initiatives to improve its current state. Promoting the development of patient-provider relationships will also be an effective element in strengthening the healthcare system, as people will be well informed and armed with knowledge on how to handle their own health and/or take preventive measures.

Author: Apoorva Anupindi

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