Healthcare leaders look beyond pilot programs to shape a strategy for population health management.
This article first appeared in the October 2014 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.
Population health management has earned the industry's attention. A combined 80% of healthcare leaders participating in our survey are underway with such programs; nearly half are fully committed and underway in improving the overall health of a defined population (49%), while another 31% are underway with a pilot program to do so.
But with so many saying they are pursuing population health, we have to wonder to what extent. Seeing a relatively small percentage (10%) with actuaries on staff could indicate that not many are developing the skills necessary to assess exposure to risk, which will be a necessity as population health management matures. Among the investments that will be required are elements such as care coordination, team-based care delivery, and IT infrastructure. Although survey respondents tell us in their comments that the lack of funding is holding back their population health developments, pilot programs are likely to remain small unless providers develop a level of comfort with financial risk to match their emerging command over the clinical aspects of population health management.
Michael Zeis is a research analyst for HealthLeaders Media.