How technology can boost population health capabilities

Technology plays an important role in the core competencies that healthcare organizations need for population health success, Brent Egan, M.D., medical director of the nonprofit Greenville, South Carolina-based Care Coordination Institute (CCI), tells Becker's Hospital Review.

CCI grew out of the launch of MyHealthFirst Network, a clinically integrated network in upstate South Carolina, and is focused on helping healthcare organizations improve population health management.

Egan notes in the article several core competencies and technologies that CCI uses that can benefit healthcare. Here are three:

  • The ability to separate patients into areas of risk: CCI uses commercially available software to stratify patients into low-, rising- and high-risk for adverse health outcomes and cost. It groups patients into clusters, then develops a care plan for chronic heart failure, for instance. Organizations can then tailor the plan to the individual patient.
  • The capability of enhanced care management and integration: It uses software that captures real-time information from multiple sources and supports ongoing integration of care among the care manager, home, primary and specialty care services.
  • The ability to obtain a complete view of the population: A robust database not only includes the patient's medical records, but also includes lifestyle patterns, income and social support to help organizations pinpoint the areas likely for greatest improvement and also provide the right care at the right time, he says.

A physician untrained in analytics recently used software that helped Mount Sinai Health System uncover common reasons for insurance denials, an area it considers an $100 million opportunity.

However, interoperability barriers, data integration and competing health IT priorities pose barriers to effective population health initiatives, considers a recent eHealth Initiative survey.

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