There are many questions regarding population health and how it affects the industry, providers, and recruitment of physicians and other providers. Our next few blogs will attempt to answer some of the most popular questions surrounding this new healthcare transition. First, and perhaps most importantly, what is population health and what is population health management?
Population health has been defined as the health outcomes of a group of individuals making up a specific demographic population. Population health management is a business model centered on delivery of comprehensive care and management of total risk. Foundational elements include: information-powered clinical decision making, primary care-led clinical workforces, patient engagement, and community integration. It is a foundational shift in the healthcare experience, from an industry driven by reactivity (“I’m sick, it is time to go see my doctor”) to an industry driven by proactive measures (“Because I have increased access and healthcare is integrated into my day-to-day life, I get sick and have to see my doctor less frequently”). The goal of population health is to keep a patient population as healthy as possible and minimize the need for costly interventions, procedures, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations. Population health management redefines healthcare to include preventative care and to address the necessity to modify factors that will make people sick or intensify existing illnesses.
From identifying patients most in need of proactive care management to accessing real-time data to adjust care plans; from coordinating clinically-integrated networks of regional providers and hospitals to making health care part of an individual’s daily routine, population health is fundamental to the transformation of healthcare delivery—and will, ultimately, improve the health of populations nationwide. Stay tuned for our next blog addressing how population health management will affect the healthcare industry.