Many tools, but challenges persist
Each year brings new advances in medical technology and new understanding of challenges in healthcare. The progress of science is so visible that it’s easy for physicians, patients, and public-policy experts to believe all the tools necessary to build a healthier society are already in hand.
In reality, many difficult and complex challenges remain. Conditions that have clear, adverse impacts on the quality of life — including diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and poor nutrition — remain widespread.
One in three adults worldwide has multiple chronic health conditions, yet only 3% of healthcare dollars are spent on preventive health.
More data needed for true success
Doctors and policymakers know that a deeper understanding of Population Health can promote better outcomes and help control costs. The 2019 Numerof State of Population Health Survey shows that healthcare executives understand the value of Population Health initiatives.
At the same time, evidence suggests that our society remains at the dawn of an era in which Population Health and preventive medicine will play leading roles in healthcare.
Given that industry-leading EHRs such as eClinicalWorks can handle tremendous volumes of patient data, it is clear that there is enormous untapped potential to use Population Health analytics to advance understanding of health.
The 2019 Numerof & Associates survey quotes one executive of a large healthcare system as saying that Population Health projects are “not simply a matter of will. You have to anticipate where you want to be and construct the services necessary for success before you actually need them.”
Population Health success stories
The good news is that Population Health tools continue to grow in usefulness, availability, and affordability. Tools for interoperability and analysis, which are essential to the success of any such programs, are also rapidly improving.
Here are three examples of successful applications of Population Health:
MMR Healthcare in Boynton Beach, Florida, used eClinicalWorks’ tools for Chronic Care Management and precise coding and risk management to lower their rates of hospital readmissions.
Northern Ohio Medical Specialists has transformed the way they provide care to patients with multiple chronic conditions by creating care teams and using the eClinicalWorks CCM module to focus on non-face-to-face care.