I recently had the pleasure to sit down with Bill Siwicki, Managing Editor of Healthcare IT News, to share my insights into the current and future state of population health information technology. The perception may be that population health is a relatedly new trend – however that is not the case. In my 25+ years in the industry, I have personally seen population health evolve throughout many initiatives.
During my discussion with Bill, we also touched upon other important areas such as connecting existing community/social services to patient needs and how pharmacists are uniquely positioned to take a larger role in population health.
Below are some key takeaways from our discussion, and I invite you to read the full piece by Bill Siwicki in Healthcare IT News.
Shift the Technology Mindset to Patient-Centric Solutions
One of the biggest drivers in population health is consumerism. Patients are rightfully demanding accessibility and affordability in their care. While technology solutions have historically been provider-centric, we need to shift the mindset to develop patient-centric technology solutions that follow the patient across the healthcare ecosystem. By better engaging patients in their care, this will naturally help drive improved outcomes, which will help support value-based care.
Leveraging Technology to Connect Existing Community/Social Services to Patient Needs
In order for community care programs to be fully successful, the care teams responsible for the patient (nurse care managers, social workers, and health educators) must have a technology platform that fully supports the model of care and empowers the care team to deliver better outcomes for the patient. This can be achieved through data capture during the visit, remote monitoring of health conditions or data points (i.e.: changes in cholesterol levels, blood sugar level, etc.), and video visit capabilities to help the patient receive the care they need in the comfort of their home.
Pharmacists Growing Roles in Population Health
Pharmacists are trusted, accessible, highly trained clinicians who can significantly contribute to population health efforts. The COVID pandemic is a prime example of this – pharmacists were on the front lines of testing, vaccinating, and educating patients. Pharmacists should be leveraged more for clinical services beyond medication management. The success of pharmacists in this larger role, however, is predicated on their ability to access vital patient information, efficiently document clinical work, and effectively outreach patients, providers and payers. Pharmacies often lack technology capable of supporting this and struggle with challenges inherent to the disconnection of healthcare and pharmacy technology.
Population Health: 2022 and Beyond
As I mentioned earlier, population health has gone through a tremendous evolution in my 25+ year tenure in the industry. I have seen many drivers contribute to this, including:
- Integration of the commercial and public sectors
- The impact of HCBS, LTSS Programs. Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) and Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) programs
- The transition from fee-for-service to value-based care
As we move further into 2022, technology will play an increasingly larger role in the evolution of population health. Some of the biggest drivers that are improving population health, such as telehealth, patient engagement, wearables, SDoH, macrotrends, and pharmacogenomics, all are dependent on technology to be successful.