How data is the cornerstone of population health management [Special Report]

By Katie Dvorak

Population health management has the power to transform healthcare, but that won't happen without robust data and use of analytics.

Providers and researchers across the country are trying to find ways to leverage the endless mounds of data entering the system and use it to improve the care of patients in hospitals, communities, states and beyond.  

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center sees population health as a rapidly changing landscape, with multiple needs from the clinical side, the payer side, payment models and from looking at new care delivery models, Chief Innovation Officer Rasu Shrestha tells FierceHealthIT.

"What we're focused on is a number of different things: we're looking at the entire continuum of care, trying to define patient populations, identifying gaps in care, stratifying risk and engaging the patient," he says of the health system, which operates 21 hospitals.

Citrus Valley Health Partners in Orange County, California, looks to its health information exchange as the backbone of population health, according to Chief Strategy Officer Martin Kleinbart.

"More than 300 physicians are participating in the HIE, and we're starting to tailor that toward population health management," he tells FierceHealthIT.

Citrus Valley also has established an independent physician association to help with analyzing data for population health metrics like diabetes control, Kleinbart adds.

Meanwhile, for Kevin Patrick, a professor of family and preventive medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine, healthcare is only part of the picture.

"There are many other things outside of [the hospital] that are extremely influential to health," he tells FierceHealthIT. "Data is becoming increasingly important now because 10 years ago, 20 years ago, all of the things that happened outside of the doctor's office tended to be understood by self-report."

In this exclusive special report, FierceHealthIT takes a look at how data is impacting population health initiatives at these organizations, challenges the tsunami of data in healthcare brings with it and what the future of population health looks like.