3 strategies to drive population health

As healthcare leaders devote increasing attention to the issue of population health management, it's become clear that their diverse efforts share certain common principles, according to Hospitals & Health Networks.

The rapid evolution of both the healthcare industry in general and the nature of population health have spurred providers to develop new skills, relationships and partnerships, writes Citigroup Managing Director Jeannette B. Price. Still, successful strategies generally share one of three main characteristics:

They provide regional scale: Healthcare systems have largely pursued greater scale to boost their efficiency and value over the last decade, Price writes, but more recently, population health models have focused on horizontal, region-by-region scales that concentrate on developing local networks and patient populations. Recent market-based mergers and acquisitions and other consolidation represent this strategy in practice, according to Price.

They invest in disruptive technologies: Myriad providers look to strategic partnerships and affiliations to make up for capability or knowledge gaps, Price writes. For example, some enter technology partnerships that both expand their data analysis capabilities and their risk management abilities as part of a population health model. Others make more consumer-focused investments, emphasizing improved convenience and access, which are major factors in patient perceptions of care quality, FierceHealthcare previously reported. Indeed, consumer healthcare choices are driven more by convenience than brand recognition. To that end, many look to technologies that improve access to care, such as telehealth.  

They increase integration and diversification:  As healthcare experts project acute care will lose its spot as the industry's top revenue generator, many systems invest in growing services and providers such as post-acute care, senior care and the insurance sector. Healthcare investment in payers is particularly active, as providers see partnering and collaborating with insurers as a way of lessening and distributing risk under population health. 

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