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Analysis

Population Health Remains a Priority

By Jonathan Bees  
   August 13, 2018

Considering the resources being invested in its ongoing development, it is somewhat surprising that the industry isn't further along in this mission.

Editor's note: The following article, which appears in the July/August edition of HealthLeaders magazine is based on the intelligence report "Population Health: Embracing Greater Risk."

If there is one thing that nearly all providers agree about regarding population health, it’s the importance of improving their organizations’ ability to manage the health of defined populations.

In the 2018 HealthLeaders Media Population Health Survey, for example, 87% of respondents say that improving their organization’s ability to manage the health of a defined population is very important, indicating that population health is a top priority for nearly all providers. Note that only 1% say that this is somewhat unimportant, and only 1% say that this is not at all important.

However, given the importance of developing competencies in population health and the resources being invested in its ongoing development, it is somewhat surprising that the industry isn’t further along in this mission.

One barometer of progress is net patient revenue from population health activities, which appears to have plateaued. Thirty-eight percent of respondents say that 25% or more of their organization’s net patient revenue is attributed to risk-based population health management activities, down two percentage points in last year’s survey.  

Full report: Embracing Greater Risk in Population Health

In addition, there are fewer respondents dabbling in population health activities at more modest levels. For example, in this year’s survey, 23% of respondents say that this activity represents less than 10% of net patient revenue, down 11 percentage points from 34% in last year’s survey.

Overall, survey results suggest that respondents remain committed to becoming more involved in risk-based population health activities. But this undertaking is not for the faint of heart—after making significant investments in people, infrastructure, and IT, providers face real consequences if they misjudge their capabilities or lack insight into the quality of their risk pool.

Jonathan Bees is a research analyst for HealthLeaders.


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