U.S. healthcare still undervalues population health management

Population health management is far from one-size-fits-all, and frontline caregivers are less enthusiastic about the model as a panacea for all of healthcare's ills than executives are, according to a post on the New England Journal of Medicine's (NEJM) Catalyst blog.

The Catalyst Insights Council, a group of executives, clinicians and clinical leaders across the country, released the results this week of its first "Care Redesign Survey," which polled experts about changes in the healthcare system. 

The council's Amy Compton-Phillips, M.D., wrote that while population health is a laudable goal, it is not an ideal care model for all situations. In fact, the majority of respondents to the group's survey agreed that mental and behavioral health services should be the top priority for healthcare investment in the years ahead.

"Forward-looking healthcare organizations are starting to change their structures to link the treatment of mental distress and maladaptive behavior to primary care," wrote Compton-Phillips. 

On the issue of population health, respondents were largely in favor (77 percent) of pursuing it as a goal, but clinicians were more skeptical, due to questions of reimbursement and the issue of healthcare's individual nature and the relationship between provider and patient. 

Many hospitals across the country are dragging their feet when it comes to adopting the population health model. But population health initiatives can be a valuable tool in helping hospitals acheive cultural comeptency and create greater connections to the community.

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- here's the post