Physician Data Analytics – Challenges and Tips for Deployment (Part 2 of 2)

Population Health Management2

By Richard Howe, PhD, Executive Director, North Texas Regional Extension Center

Last month, I discussed some of the challenges related to deployment of a population focused, data analytics system. These challenges were presented in more detail in a recent article in Healthcare IT News (09/14/2015). The article noted that the efficiency of a population health management (PHM) program relies on the ability of the caregivers to leverage population data within a practice. In the daily practice of medicine, this is difficult to do.

So, this month, I want to focus on some of the basic tips for deployment of a PHM system in your practice. Having a PHM system and deploying it in real practice are two different things!

Population health analytics is becoming a strategic imperative
PHM processes have been guided by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement’s (IHI) ‘Triple Aim’ of: 1) improving the health of populations, 2) improving experience of care, and 3) reducing per capita costs of health care. IHI published a 2015 report describing three core components of PHM that organizations need to execute to pursue the Triple Aim:

1. Creating the right foundation for population health management.
2. Managing services at scale for a population.
3. Establishing a learning system to drive and sustain the work over time.

Much of what IHI focuses on has analytics at its core, making population health analytics tools and technologies a strategic imperative for any provider that wants to achieve the Triple Aim.

Tips for deploying PHM and data analytics in your practice
PHM and supporting data analytics are being increasingly used as a tool for preventive care and overall wellness management rather than reactive, localized, and episodic care.

An effective PHM solution must be able to perform a number of key tasks for providers, including:
• Aggregating data across the continuum of care;
• Tracking, aggregating and analyzing clinical and financial data;
• Measuring performance scores and analyzing clinical outcomes;
• Applying risk stratification algorithms to patients in a given population;
• Delivering information to care team members when and where they need it;
• Assessing cost and quality metrics (Healthcare IT News, 09/14/2015).

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to PHM. However, for a successful PHM program, every practice will need to lay a clear road map flexible enough to address fast changing regulatory needs, robust enough to mitigate adoption risks, while at the same time improving overall patient care.

Overcoming the challenges and implementing a PHM system is no easy task. However, use of PHM approaches will prepare you to migrate toward value-based care – a win for both your practice and your patients!