At Houston Methodist, Population Health is the Real Deal

Scott Mace, May 3, 2016

A patient-centered medical home for chronic care management implemented alongside just a hint of data analytics technology is making a difference.

This article first appeared in the June 2016 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

Human relationships and just the right application of technology seem to be unlocking population health's benefits.

Now, one healthcare system has the hard data to back up such statements.

Julia Andrieni, MD
Julia Andrieni, MD

At Houston Methodist, a seven-hospital, 1,931-bed health system in Texas, a six-month pilot implementation of a direct-to-employer population health strategy reduced hospitalizations and visits to the emergency department, says Julia Andrieni, MD, vice president of population health and primary care, as well as president and CEO of Houston Methodist's Physicians' Alliance for Quality.

Andrieni delivered the hard numbers backing up Houston Methodist's commitment at the HealthLeaders Population Health Exchange, held last week in Austin, Texas.

Her talk began with her own definition of population health: A data-driven integrated healthcare delivery model that provides individualized care plans to employees and beneficiaries based on their health risk profiles.

In the pilot, drawing from a pool of 3,000 employees, Houston Methodist moved from a mix of 28% uncontrolled and 72% undercontrolled diabetes and hypertension patients to a mix of 11% uncontrolled, 37% undercontrolled, and 50% controlled diabetes and hypertension patients.

In this study, Houston Methodist defined low risk as a hemoglobin A1C reading of less than 7, and hypertension as being below blood pressure reading of 140 over 90 or less. High risk was defined as hemoglobin A1C greater than 8, and stage 2 hypertension.

"The results were even greater for people who had home health monitoring devices," Andrieni says.

Scott Mace

Scott Mace is the former senior technology editor for HealthLeaders Media. He is now the senior editor, custom content at H3.Group.

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