Hospital systems continue to up investments in population health

As hospitals continue the shift to population health management, they face increasing costs in terms of the infrastructure required to make the transition.

That's the result of a new survey by Premier Inc., the group purchasing organization, as part of its annual economic outlook survey. Sixty percent of the C-suite healthcare executives surveyed said they plan to up their 2016 budgets for population health/new payment initiatives. And among those who said they would spend more money, 39 percent said the increase would be 10 percent or more.

Merely moving to a new payment model requires about $1.7 million in startup costs, with maintenance and administrative costs ranging from between $6 million and $14 million, according to Premier, citing data from the Urban Institute. 

Among the likeliest expansion plans, according to Premier: Care management for chronic diseases, creation of physician and multi-specialty groups, and patient outreach and reminders.

However, data management and health information technology is also considered a cornerstone for population management as well, along with the practice of data warehousing and granular analysis of the information that is available.

"The shift requires that health systems make new investments in infrastructure and high-value care networks to deliver better outcomes, as well as manage risk-based contracts and less reimbursement. Investments in HIT, data analytics and modern clinical infrastructure are foundational for providers to seamlessly deliver population health services across their inpatient, outpatient and alternative care sites," Premier Chief Operating Officer Michael J. Alkire said in a statement. "Increasing capital budgets are a positive indicator that health systems are better equipped to invest in building and wiring care centers that can meet these new demands."

To learn more:
- here's a link to purchase the survey
- read the survey announcement

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