By now, it is fair for us to assume that you have heard the phrase “population health.” This term is not new to the healthcare sphere, and it is likely not going anywhere either. As a country, the necessity for healthcare services to be more widely accessible to the general public remains at the forefront of initiatives. As we take strikes to make this possible, providers begin to see issues regarding the general health of the population.
What is “population health”?
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, CDC, “views population health as an interdisciplinary, customizable approach that allows health departments to connect practice to policy for change to happen locally.” With this being said, the main goal of is to address health concerns of specific segments of the population. By stratifying a population into parts, healthcare providers then enact healthcare plans for a group. This aims to improve overall health outcomes. At a larger level, this allows us to collect data on what the collective population is facing as a whole. From their, this aids in addressing concerns and allocating resources to overcome these issues.
Let’s delve into a few reasons as to why population health MATTERS…
- People-Focused: At its core, these initiatives put individuals at the center of their care. This enables providers to focus more on the patient’s issue at hand. Then, physicians seek out care plans and healthcare alternatives. With people’s care coming into focus, health improvements begin to sore and we advance farther as a population.
- Control Health Costs: The ability to assess care gaps, create treatment plans, and avoid unnecessary trips to emergency rooms, provides the capability to control healthcare costs at the individual level.
- Disease Prevention: Population health works to stratify patients into segmented populations to help curb disease and improve health. This prevents already occurring diseases from spreading to others when the right care plans and engagement take place.
- Improved Outcomes: This cannot be overstated enough – “pop” health has the potential to reduce the frequency of health crisis. This reduces hospitalizations, office visits, and even potential for medications needed.
- Increased Patient Engagement: With population health, patients are expected to participate in care plans to improve their own well-being. This enables them to be more involved in themselves, while also interacting with you and your staff more. This provides them with a sense of empowerment and self-management skills.
As anything else, population health management comes with its challenges for providers. However, the rewards it reaps are worthy of praise. If your practice hasn’t yet taken a leap towards population health initiatives, it may be time to begin thinking of how to stratify your data to do so. If you’re not sure how, there are healthcare technologies that can help.