By Christine Kern, contributing writer
PHM tools help reduce costs and improve outcomes.
As healthcare costs continue to rise unsustainably along with the number of individuals who now have access to healthcare through Obamacare, increased pressure is placed on healthcare providers who must seek new approaches to deliver healthcare.
According to AHIMA, population health management (PHM) is an ideal way to refocus healthcare in order to pre-empt many costly health conditions and reduce overall healthcare costs. The Institute for Health Technology Transformation (IHTT) 2013 report stated, “PHM focuses partly on the high-risk patients who generate the majority of health costs, it systematically address the preventive and chronic care needs of every patient. Because the distribution of health risks changes over time, the objective is to modify the factors that make people sick or exacerbate their illnesses.”
Via the Patient-Centered Primary Car Collaborative, following are some of the top PHM trends and how they help reduce costs and improve outcomes:
- EHRs: EHRS are useful in documenting and enabling sharing of pertinent patient diagnoses, vital signs, tests and treatments, registry populations, and other structured data necessary for advanced analytics.
- Patient registries: These comprise the central database of PHM, and are used for patient monitoring, patient outreach, point-of-care reminders, care management, health risk stratification, care gap identification, quality reporting, performance evaluation, and many other purposes. One recent example is the ACC’s launch of two Afib-related registry programs to track ablation and left atrial appendage occlusion procedures.
- HIE: HIEs allow for effective coordination of care across the healthcare field, connecting patients and healthcare team members by allowing for secure and confidential sharing of pertinent healthcare information. As Scott Westcott explained, “HIE (as both a noun and a verb) has the potential to vastly improve the speed, quality, safety, and cost of patient care.”
- Patient portals: The use of patient portals has increased recently as a means to engage patients in their health and wellness, and it allows for patients to check accuracy of records. Currently, however, despite their potential, reports show that portals are being underused by physicians.
- Telehealth/telemedicine: telemedicine, which includes treatment of patients via audio and video conferencing to engage and care for patients between face-to-face office visits and help reduce overall healthcare costs.
- Remote patient monitoring: Remote monitoring, often connected to healthcare apps, can help patients control chronic conditions such as hypertension or diabetes and forestall major health events by identifying issues early.
- Advanced population analytics: These can be used to evaluate how different segments of populations are faring, and to assess the clinical and financial performance of individual providers, sites of care, and the healthcare organization as a whole. Using predictive analytics for example, can help reduce readmissions by assessing patient risks of readmission.