News Feature | November 26, 2013

PHM Failing To Integrate With EHRs

Source: Health IT Outcomes
Katie Wike

By Katie Wike, contributing writer

HTO Population Health Management

A report from KLAS says PHM market is rapidly growing, vendors are struggling, and solutions aren’t integrating well with EHRs

Providers are starting to focus more clearly on population health management (PHM) as a systematic approach to keeping patients healthy is a solution to avoiding readmission fines and a valuable tool in preparing for a pay-for-quality system. However, this increased focus on PHM is revealing some troubling findings.

According to a study by KLAS Research - Population Health Management 2013: Scouting the PHM Roster - “Soaring provider interest in population health management (PHM) has triggered an arms race among vendors to capture mind and market share. Providers looking for a PHM solution face a long list of vendors hoping to be drafted onto providers' teams. Unfortunately, vague language among vendors and unclear goals among providers cloud the picture.”

Report Author Mark Wagner warns, “With so many vendors echoing similar messages, it is hard for providers to know where to start. The purpose of this report is to create structure around population health terminology and to get beyond the vendor marketing messages in an effort to validate how these solutions are being used in live environments.”

FierceEMR notes, "In a survey of 78 provider organizations that are using at least one population health management solution, no single vendor out of 23 identified leads in three key areas: delivery performance, breadth of portfolio, and depth of population health management experience. Several vendors were identified as early leaders in this ‘arms race.’

“The study also found that integration of population health management solutions with electronic health record systems remains a challenge, with vendors either building capabilities in-house, or offering the products via acquisition. With no clear vendor leader, providers are using just a subset of functionality, or are stacking multiple solutions together.”

Wagner is quotes by InformationWeek Healthcare as saying, "Physicians don't want to look at a second source of data. They don't want to look at a portal to find clinical data for the patient, they want it all in one place. So from that viewpoint, the EHR vendors should have a leg up in terms of being able to integrate that functionality into their workflow."

Wagner continued, “Providers are struggling to piece together solutions that meet all their PHM IT needs, including data aggregation, risk stratification, care coordination, and patient outreach. In some cases, they're ‘stacking’ applications they already have to perform the requisite functions. But that presents other challenges, because it's difficult to integrate these disparate kinds of software.

“Various organizations take markedly different approaches to utilizing the available products, he observed. For example, some providers are content to use their EHRs to filter data on certain subpopulations, such as patients with diabetes. Then they try to make sure those patients are being seen so their care gaps can be addressed. Larger, more sophisticated organizations, in contrast, tend to use advanced analytics to do predictive modeling that can help them identify high-risk patients.”

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