Healthcare Analytics, Population Health Management, Healthcare Big Data

How is Population Health Management Supported by Health IT?

Most providers are using clinical health IT for population health management purposes, helping them to circumvent clinical practice challenges.

Better population health management is one of the biggest goals for healthcare professionals when it comes to connect health IT, according to a recent survey.

population health management

Conducted by HIMSS Media on behalf of Royal Philips, this survey shows how healthcare professionals are using connected health technology in the context of population health management. In doing so, the researchers found that population health management comes with several different challenges.

Most prominent of those challenges was care coordination, with 23.5 percent of respondents identifying as such. Other challenges to population health management included the financial investment in the IT (21.4 percent), data management (18.4 percent), patient engagement and adherence (14.3 percent), and cohort identification and risk stratification (12.2 percent).

As such, respondents showed that their decisions for health IT purchasing hinged upon various factors. Because providers need a lot out of their health IT products to make population health management a reality at their practices, they need health technologies that will cater to their specific needs.

Overall, 27 percent of the 105 healthcare professionals surveyed stated that their clinical health IT purchases largely depended upon whether the product could drive measurable clinical improvements. Health IT and EHR interoperability also proved to be notable factors, with 17 percent of respondents reporting such. Eleven percent of respondents said it was important that health IT was interoperable with pre-existing technologies.

Interoperability is an important part of clinical health IT purchases – it was also granted the top spot when it came to desirable features on a new health IT product in a separate question in the survey – most likely because a vast amount of population health management programs have to do with interoperability and health information exchange (HIE).

As of present, 57.6 percent of respondents are involved in some sort of HIE program as a part of their overall population health management plan, and about 40 percent plan on enrolling in one in the near future.

Other common population health management plans included telehealth systems, analytics software, and consulting/systems integration services. Just over half (52 percent) of respondents are also looking into cloud-based solutions for the population health management needs due to its cost efficiency and scalability.

Patient engagement also appears to play a major role in providers’ population health management efforts. A total of 67.7 percent of respondents stated they had patient education programs in place, most likely to supplement the many reported chronic disease management programs in place.

Going forward, providers plan on engaging in several other population health management programs. Over half of respondents stated they plan to adopt mobile wellness monitoring apps, and a notable number also reported they plan on implementing home monitoring devices for their patients.