Guest post by Jonathan H. Burroughs, M.D., president and CEO of The Burroughs Healthcare Consulting Network.
As our healthcare system moves from focusing primarily on the diagnosis and treatment of acute disease toward a better balance between managing both acute and chronic disease and maintaining the health and wellbeing of defined populations, it is imperative that healthcare organizations make the planning process of building a population health infrastructure a strategic priority.
The following represents an outline of the fundamental building blocks of a population health program and presents a recommended approach to staging the transition from a sickness-based to a chronic disease/health-based business model.
1. Align with key strategic partners and stakeholders
The foundation of any population health program is to create strategic alliances with all major caregivers and stakeholders through the creation of "at-risk" contracts with all major players. This begins with the physician staff as physicians and advanced practice practitioners must provide, lead and oversee all healthcare services. Alignment must also extend to: nursing homes, home healthcare, long term care facilities, skilled nursing facilities, telehealth platforms and any organization or service that has a significant impact on the delivery of healthcare services to a defined population. At-risk contracts ensure that all parties share the same clinical and business goals/objectives and can work together to ensure optimum outcomes.