Primary care docs can take lead on population health

care team

One of the keys to successful population health management is teamwork, a collaboration that can empower primary care providers to take a leading role.

The industry’s transition to value-based care makes it vital that primary care physicians participate in these care teams, according to an article from Medical Economics. Because payments are performance-based, doctors will need to be more discerning in which specialists they send patients to, and they can leverage that influence to drive change.

Although a previous article found that the changes necessary to align with a population health model present difficulties for private practitioners, David Nash, M.D., dean of Jefferson College of Population Health at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, told the publication that primary care providers can become a driving force in care transformation, including in larger hospitals, nursing homes and rehabilitation centers. Because they will monitor performance of other health stakeholders more closely, they’ll be able to ensure that other providers are held accountable for the care the offer to referred patients.

“It’s this level of accountability that will deliver a higher quality of care at a lower cost for a larger number of patients,” Nash said.

Nash also emphasized that working alongside other providers is the best way for primary care physicians to put their work toward their goals for population health. That alignment is key, as providers and community groups must be prepared to unite to advance population health programs.