Phil Suiter: The first generation in population health management had numerous programs that were immensely helpful. Though the idea was great, there was one thing about it that proved difficult – assessment of clinical and financial results. Now, the second generation of population health management is in the pipeline, let’s call it Population Health 2.0. It is driven by a strong network of providers and employers with integrated programs that are greatly improving community health, delivering financial results and Return Of Investment.

Population Health 2.0 is indispensable for hospitals and health systems that strive to achieve the dual mission: building healthier communities while strategically planning for the future. It has a strong focus on supporting employers with well-planned health and wellness initiatives that are help lower healthcare costs while boosting employee productivity.

It gives a better picture of community health. Since it works closely with employers, a provider can learn a lot about health needs of consumers in their areas who aren’t currently their patients. It can further help bring those consumers into their system. Countless companies have a significant number of employees without a primary care physician and are overdue for getting important health screenings that ensure a healthy life.

An employer-provider population health platform has a lot of information on relevant health risks. To ensure confidentiality, only the employer and the provider should have access to this information. But the employer should also have an overall view of the employee health trends and possess a financial analysis tool that helps identify the costs associated with health risks and the potential savings that can be achieved when the health of its employers improve.

The first round of Population Health was mainly used by health insurers and their partners. With the second version, the employers have the ability to directly partner with the providers and hence they do not lose access to key data when they change carriers. This data can also be used by providers to develop marketing campaigns that address the greatest health risks and at the same time build strategic service line growth.

The local hospital recognizes the unique needs of the employers in its area as they all are part of the same community. They also have an idea of an employer’s budgetary constraints and overall readiness for population health management. Some companies have just started implementing this, while others have already began screenings and seminars.

With the new technology platforms, it is easier than ever before to engage employees, manage incentive programs and measure their effectiveness. A web-based solution offers and employee a personalized component that includes tools and resources that are specially designed to support their health goals. Employees can check on their incentive status at the click of a button and also input required data like diet, water intake, etc. for a more comprehensive health assessment.

The primary phase of population health management was mainly about its principles and concepts. Measuring its effectiveness was a challenging task. Population Health 2.0 is all about reaching out into the community by using various tools of technology to understand progress and measure effectiveness.

This strategy helps at-risk populations become healthier by giving them better and easier access to providers in their area. Providers, on the other hand, gain insight into their communities and can more effectively strategize their plans. The employers are reaping benefits of lower healthcare costs with increased productivity and happier employees.

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