The key components to population health outcomes promote a health care management system that combines the accumulated knowledge of your health care service team, the optimization of its organizational structure, and the application of treatments based on sound medical practices for entire populations of patients. The result for patients is a greater ability to adapt to and control life’s changes and challenges, while experiencing a greater level of total well-being, as opposed to a primary focus on ‘freedom from disease’.
Population health management or PHM seeks to improve the health outcomes of groups of individuals while lowering costs and reducing health service inequalities between those different populations. This shift in patient health management focuses on the social, cultural, environmental, and physical factors which contribute to the patient’s lifetime health influences and the subsequent health effects on a population.
Successfully Treating Patient Populations
Population health strategies seek to identify community issues and the range of health needs within that population. By identifying the greatest health needs within a population, medical facilities can adequately respond by providing the right physicians, offer appropriate wellness programs and education, and instigate early diagnosis, treatment, and management programs to increase the health outcomes of entire neighborhoods.
A recent Daily Herald report chronicled how a Tennessee medical network studied Maury County residents to determine the area’s wellness and to find ways to improve the health outcomes as represented by patient vital signs. The study found obesity, stroke, heart disease, cancer (particularly colorectal and lung cancers), and teen birth rates as the predominant health issues of the community.
From a population health management perspective, strategic medical system planning to address these health needs and a community relationship to educate the population on risk reduction and early detection – are the goals of PHM.
Key Components To Population Health Outcomes
|~Attaining quality patient health outcomes that not only successfully treat the patient’s health condition but also includes patient involvement in making health care decisions. Patient participation is an influencing factor in quality health care. Decisions that empower the patient will close the gap between the patient-doctor relationship while valuing the patient’s beliefs and life experience.|
|~An improved patient experience outcome aims to improve patient perceptions, which has been documented as a barrier to delivering quality health care. If patients are confused about medical terminology and treatment options, often the need for multiple physicians to assist in further diagnosis is often considered a time-consuming hindrance. When the patient plays a significant role in their medical care experience, they become empowered to make the lifestyle changes that are a necessary part of disease prevention and control.|
|~Reducing waste and time of inpatient stays can influence the third componentto population health component – cost outcomes. Regulating costs for both the medical profession and the patient can be accomplished through analyzing patient and clinic data. When patterns between the cause of illness or disease can be linked to lifestyle connections, patient patterns can be broken and efficient systems of early diagnosis and treatment delivery can be established. These streamlined efforts help to reduce wasted time and resources|
Population health management is an innovative platform to empower populations and individuals and promote improved health outcomes. It also offers the medical community an opportunity to balance quality and cost challenges, while patients have a comprehensive way to manage chronic illnesses. Efficient management of a diabetes population or teen pregnancy crisis results in a targeted and prioritized health system response.
As the patient’s medical community adopts PHM best practices, they can expect improved methods of diagnosis and treatment; treatment which aims to limit cost overruns, improve the patient experience, and offer a higher quality of health care.
Lack of Transparency
There’s far more information readily available on what movies are currently playing that there is on where to go for lifesaving care. Why is it so difficult to get honest, unbiased and complete information on potential health care provider? I believe it is traced to several reasons, two of which are that we don’t demand that sort of access to that type of information and that providers are hesitant to release information that could potentially damage their revenue sources. Health care providers are paid for the services they provide and not the results they deliver. This leads to recommending expensive procedures and treatments that are not needed and can lead to complications and more treatments.
What would a doctor’s visit be like in a health-driven model as opposed to a treatment-driven model? What would a hospital stay cost? What would our insurance premiums be? What would it cost to have a baby? These are many more are the questions that plague the healthcare industry and that need to be answered. Any healthcare organization that wishes to stand out in the industry or be a trailblazer to set an example for other healthcare organizations should lead with questions as such an many more when they are formulating a strategy. But most importantly, healthcare organizations should be concerned about providing the best quality of care to its patients in all situations. If every healthcare organization has this unified goal then population health will greatly improve. Providing the best care also included teaching patients how to care for themselves and encouraging them to be more engaged in their health. Patient engagement has been shown to greatly impact population health positively. With technology at its peak and the increased merging of healthcare and technology it is easier than ever for the patient to be more engaged in their health through handheld devices, and mobile platforms where patients can track their health data and well being and deliberately to improve it.