Population Health Trends from eHealth Initiative
The eHealth Initiative (eHI) 2016 Population Health Survey investigates where respondents are with regard to:
- Health IT infrastructure
- Population health management strategies/approach
- Patient engagement
- Data use and analytics
- Care management
Survey respondents represent a wide range of health care organizations, from small and large physician group practices, health systems and academic medical centers, to integrated delivery networks, clinically integrated networks and health plans.
The top trends identified by the researchers* indicate that:
- Organizations are beginning to connect with newer technology such as remote monitoring
- Payment models are driving initiatives, with superutilizers of health care services the main focus
- Analytics must lead to actionable information
Respondents are Value-Based Leaders
eHI sent the survey to a large network of ACOs, providers and health plans. Within this universe, population health is a high priority. During a discussion of the results, Dr. Charles Kennedy, Chief Medical Officer, Clinical Integration at Aetna noted “The results … definitely are skewed a bit toward the organizations that are already thinking about how to move in the direction of value-based care and have already started down the path of preparing for population health.”
Dr. Kennedy’s distinguished panelists included Tricia Nguyen, M.D., Executive Vice President for Population Health at Texas Health Resources, and Shawn Griffin, M.D., Chief Quality & Informatics Officer, Memorial Hermann Physician Network.
Barriers to Progress
Even among this group of early adopters, there are still challenges to adopting population health. The top barriers identified by respondents include:
- Change management (70%)
- Data integration/interoperability (66%)
- Impact on workflow and productivity (62%)
- Competing health IT priorities (57%)
- Cost of software or tools (49%)
- Lack of sufficiently trained staff (49%)
- Physician alignment (48%)
- Lack of patient engagement (47%)
Despite the challenges, the survey results demonstrate a commitment to population health on the part of most respondents, and growing reliance on and sophistication in using technology to capture, analyze and use data to achieve organizational goals. They point in a positive direction for population health management, with room to grow in the future. However, even with strong mission statements and support at the highest levels, changing the culture is hard: survey respondents rank change management as the number one barrier to progress. So how does it work in real life?
In the webinar/panel discussion of the survey results, Dr. Charles Kennedy commented, “There’s a pretty big gap between deploying technology and getting a result, and we might call that change management.” Explaining how Texas Health Resources has closed the gap, Dr. Tricia Nguyen said, “It’s got to start with incentive alignment, but two is to involve the individual at the frontline with defining and designing the pathways, the protocols and the care model.” Dr. Shawn Griffin echoed her sentiments, and shared, “We stood up a practice transformation team that went into our individual [primary care] offices … and that was very useful for bringing everyone’s capabilities up to a similar level across our primary care network.”
Where is your organization on the population health continuum, and how are you overcoming the barriers?
* eHealth Initiative (eHI) is a nonprofit membership organization that researches, educates and advocates for innovative solutions to improve the quality, safety, and efficiency of care through information and technology. Its membership spans the entire health care ecosystem, including leading provider organizations, industry associations, technology solution providers, insurance companies, and others.
Categories: Population Health