Traditionally, plan members have been responsible for making appointments with providers. Under this structure, if a member forgot to book a screening or schedule a wellness appointment, then it simply didn’t happen.
While this may have worked for providers operating under a fee-for-service payment model, the growing popularity of value-based payment is finally correcting this flawed practice.
Now, payers hold providers accountable for their member populations. Some even require providers to sign an agreement, promising to provide members with health services like screening reminders and assistance scheduling wellness visits.
In short, an increasing number of providers are becoming responsible for helping members manage chronic conditions, avoid the emergency room, and stay healthy.
Effectively managing these new responsibilities requires an enormous amount of data, and this is where population health analytics comes in.
What Is Population Health Analytics?
Population health analytics is the practice of leveraging insights about a group of members in order to close care gaps, develop effective care plans, and mitigate illness among at-risk populations.
But that’s just the short answer. Fully understanding the incredible efficacy of population health analytics requires a bit more explanation.
Let’s start by explaining what the differences are between population health, population health management, and population analytics:
1. What Is Population Health?
Population health is the overall approach — a grand model that seeks to improve the health of populations via methodologies like person-centered care and value-based care.
2. What Is Population Health Management?
Population health management describes the work required by the population health approach.
Management is what payers expect providers to do — helping members take on an active role in their health by reminding them of appointments and pairing them with care managers who work with the member and providers to develop a person-centered care plan.
Population health management software, like Incedo™, helps care managers and everyone else involved along the continuum of care to efficiently create and configure care plans.
3. What Is Population Health Analytics?
Population health analytics supports the management of population health by equipping providers with the data needed to track and monitor member segments and cohorts.
For example, a provider will probably need to know who in his population has diabetes, who goes to the emergency room multiple times a year, and which members are on lots of medication.
Population health management analytics is the database that records all of these data points and helps providers deliver the value-based care payers expect.
What Are the Benefits of Population Health Analytics?
There is significant overlap between the benefits of population health analytics, value-based care, and person-centered care. This is because all three approaches complement each other and when used together, a synergism emerges, enhancing the effects of each approach.
When used like this, population health analytics results in many benefits, including:
Improved Health Outcomes
Being able to know exactly who in a population is suffering from a certain condition, who needs screening, or who is due for a checkup is a huge step forward in the evolution of care. By ensuring members get to all their appointments, receive their medication, and so on, providers are able to generate improved health outcomes for populations.
Actively Engaged Members
Population health expects more from providers, but it also expects members to take on a more active role in their health. When care managers are using analytics to plan out care plans, they’re also communicating with members to ensure that plans meet their needs and to remind them of appointments. And because members are engaged on a higher level, this makes them feel empowered and motivated towards their own health.
Increased Member Satisfaction
Population health analytics improves member satisfaction for many reasons:
- Being proactively managed by the practice defuses a lot of stress.
- Analytics helps providers curate care to the individual, making members feel truly cared for.
- Members see better outcomes, further increasing their satisfaction.
Reduced Healthcare Costs
Because population health analytics enhances the transparency between providers, expensive mistakes like duplicate testing and treatment are avoided. And as health outcomes improve across a population, providers and payers see a decrease in costs since members require fewer treatments and less time spent with providers.
How Does Population Health Software Help?
Population health management software is the tool that enables providers and payers to make sense of our member data. It allows users to create data visualizations, track specific cohorts, coordinate care, incorporate behavioral health and social needs, and much more.
Analytics & Data Visualization
In a population health setting, analytics software enables users to track member segments and know exactly where they are. It also creates a single database where everyone involved in a member’s care can find the data they need.
Because population health is entwined with value-based care, the ability for multiple parties to access data is especially important, as the care team can include numerous specialists and caregivers (e.g. the member’s care manager, primary care physicians, certified nurses, pharmacists, social workers, psychologists, and so on).
Our population health software, Incedo™, offers the visualization features necessary for the whole care team to make sense of the analytics, track trends, and make data-driven decisions. One example is how Incedo™ can flag members with gaps in care and bring them to the provider’s attention.
Customizable Care Plans & Care Coordination
An additional benefit that helps us stand out from other population health management software vendors is that we’ve invested significant resources into developing Incedo™’s care plan configuration features.
With population health analytics and value-based care, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution — each member deserves special attention.
Once a plan is made, Incedo™ helps teams coordinate care by making it easy to delegate tasks and delineate responsibilities. In short, we help care teams work without tripping over each other.
Behavioral & Social Health Needs
Whereas other software stops at data analytics, Incedo™ takes it further by making it easy for care teams to take social and behavioral needs into account.
This is crucial, because with analytics you’ll be able to identify members who have healthcare needs, but you won’t always get the complete picture. For example, healthcare population analytics may tell you that a member has diabetes, but doesn’t tell you what their home life is like. Maybe they’re also homeless, or in an abusive relationship — analytics doesn’t say.
For providers, this incomplete picture can interrupt their attempts to create effective care plans, as it’s only after a provider starts meeting with a member that these SDOH and behavioral health care needs start to come to light.
To help providers overcome this challenge, Incedo™ equips care teams with the configuration tools necessary to take all aspects of a member’s situation into account — medical conditions (e.g. diabetes), behavioral health needs (e.g. anxiety), and social determinants of health (e.g. socioeconomic status), all accounted for.
The Future of Population Health Analytics: Advancing What’s Possible
It’s becoming increasingly important for providers to have the right tools in place in order to effectively manage their populations.
Value-based care is only growing in popularity and soon most, if not all, providers will be expected to account for medical, behavioral, and SDOH needs. And it’s no wonder why, as population health delivers better outcomes while simultaneously lowering costs.
Consequently, in order to deliver effective value-based & person-centered care, providers must invest in the population health software necessary to help them close care gaps, track population segments, and enhance personalized care.
To get started upgrading your population health analytics capabilities, contact InfoMC today.
InfoMC is a national leader among population health management software companies. Our comprehensive population health solution, Incedo™, helps providers take full advantage of data analytics while also incorporating behavioral and social needs.