As demands for more cost accountability continue to rise for healthcare organization, having a robust population health strategy is no longer an ancillary option—it will have to be an integral part of an organization’s business strategy.
Sarah Thomas, managing director of the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, says that a May 2017 survey of hospital CEOs found that investments in population health analytics is the highest rated analytics priority for healthcare organizations.
“In the next year, investments in population health and in the tools necessary for effective population health management are expected to increase,” Thomas says. “As traditional fee-for-service payments give way to value-based care reimbursement models, health systems and health plans will increasingly focus on population health.”
Here are four more changes to expect on the population health front:
1. Pop health collaborations will increase
Thomas says the incentive for health plans and health systems to collaborate will increase due to a common goal—lowering healthcare costs.
“We expect more collaboration on population health between health systems and health plans as they jointly develop benefit design, financial incentives, and technology to promote better population health,” Thomas says.
2. More organizations will use pop health data to cut costs
Healthcare organizations that have been utilizing EHRs for years will be realizing the best ways to utilize patient data, says David Hom, chief evangelist of SCIO Health Analytics.
“Providers have only begun to understand patient risk based on financial implications. The value of claims data is now important as both the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and health plans use this data to determine the patient’s risk and the financial impact of the services that they will prescribe for the member,” Hom says. “Providers will now begin their journey of how they should use data to improve their finances.”
In the next year, Hom says that healthcare organization should be able to answer two key questions with existing patient data to determine financial risk:
- Can the data be used to help manage some of my risk contracts with CMS or with my health plans?
- Am I being paid correctly for the patients I manage based on the claims I file with CMS?
“Providers will need to understand exactly what data is of value to help them manage risk,” Hom says. “For example, household data such as income, education, distance to the provider, and spending habits will be critical to determine if a service prescribed by the provider will be completed.”