The Truven Health Blog

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What Services Can Be Offered for Population Health Management

The Second Question When You're About to Build Analytics for Population Health Management

By Anne Fischer/Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Yesterday, I noted that all the players in Population Health management (PHM), including health systems, practitioners, insurance companies, employers and government agencies, agree they need cutting-edge analytics to make sense of their population. The simplest definition of Population Health Management (PHM) that seems to be accepted by all the players: "Meeting the healthcare needs of a defined population of individuals, from the healthiest to the highest risk, with the right programs at the right time to ensure the best outcomes possible." And then I described the first (who is the population to be managed) of three key questions that must be answered before developing an analytic to support the business needs of the players.

The second key question is, what services can be offered to facilitate the management of the population?  This could include some combination of:

  • Wellness programs
  • Specific disease prevention programs
  • Ongoing care/disease/case management
  • Educational programs
  • Targeted individual outreach
  • Treatment guidance
  • Clinical services (e.g., free clinics, screenings)

This question is often overlooked when building analytics. I think of it as the “so what” question.  What are you, the key stakeholder, going to do with the information that this analytic provides to you?  What action will you take based on its results?  If you are an employer who is primarily interested in managing the health of your employees, it is fairly unlikely that you are investing in clinical care managers who can guide a patient through the treatment options available to them when they are newly diagnosed with a serious condition. However, if you are a health system or a physician practice, analytics that identify these patients at the earliest point of care may be of interest to you.  Similarly, a health system is unlikely to have significant influence over the culture of wellness present at a given employer.  Understanding the “so what’ of an analytic is absolutely key to developing a practical solution.

Tomorrow, I'll focus on the third key question that data scientists must ask before building population health analytics.

Anne Fischer
Senior Director, Advanced Analytics

Added later - here are links to the other two blogs in this series:

  • What is the population to be managed?
  • What data will be available for population health analytics?

  • Five Things Employers Want from Health Plan Reporting

    By Jennifer Huyck/Thursday, June 19, 2014
    Jennifer Huyck imageThese days, health plans are under pressure to deliver more comprehensive and reliable information to their employer clients.

    After all, population health is on everyone’s radar, and employers are trying to keep a tight rein on rising costs. Plus, with all the talk of healthcare Big Data, employers have higher expectations of the kinds of information health plans can provide. Information transparency and combining financial and clinical data from multiple sources are becoming critical.

    In other words, traditional reporting isn’t going to cut it anymore.

    But what, specifically, do employers want from health plan reports?

    Based on our partnerships with over 150 of the nation’s largest employers — including 25 percent of Fortune 500® companies — Truven Health experts have compiled the following list of the five most important things employers want when it comes to the health plan reporting.
    1. Acknowledge their different needs. Step away from one-size-fits-all reporting. Each employer client will want to see different slices of data and varying levels of analysis to fit their specific business questions. Reports need to be flexible enough to meet those diverse requests and stakeholders.
    2. Help them educate and inform their senior management team. Benefits managers need to be able to prove to the Powers That Be that the company’s investments in employee health are worth it, and health plan reporting is an important part of that.
    3. Provide consistent, accurate, and timely reporting. Employers want data that they can trust, and they want it quickly.
    4. Show them how to compare themselves to the outside world. Reporting solutions should allow employer clients to compare costs and other points of interest to national and regional benchmarks, so they can identify areas for improvement and recognize successes.
    5. Be consultative and creative. This is perhaps the most notable change in what employers need today versus what they needed in the past. Today, it’s not just about the numbers on a spreadsheet. Employers need those numbers to be meaningful and useful as they try to solve new challenges. And it’s now the health plan’s job to offer guidance along with the numbers.
    In short, plans that can provide data and analytics that are flexible and trustworthy, and that answer the “So what?” and the “Now what?” will be the best-positioned to become problem-solving partners that employers can’t live without.

    For more details about these five employer reporting needs, download our latest insights brief.

    Jennifer Huyck
    Vice President, Analytics and Consulting

    An Educated Patient With Financial Accountability

    By Anita Nair Hartman/Wednesday, November 27, 2013
    Anita-Nair-Hartman imageA recent Wall Street Journal article highlights a strategy employers are using to manage rising healthcare costs: sharing more of the cost burden with employees. Benefit plans with higher out-of-pocket costs for consumers have been rising in popularity over the past few years in the employer-sponsored healthcare sector. Consumers considering new products on the state and federal insurance marketplaces will also find that their choices include plans with higher out-of-pocket costs. It is clear that American consumers will be taking on more of the cost burdens for their health care. The hope is that an educated consumer with financial accountability will take care of their health and make sound financial choices to manage it.

    The question is: How do we get consumers to that state? Health plans and employers are looking at tools and services that will create more educated consumers. We need to support consumers as they navigate the healthcare maze and help them become engaged participants. Rather than our traditional point approach, where we engage at enrollment or when a treatment is needed, our industry needs to take a holistic view of the consumer and engage in ongoing and constant communication. We need to turn consumer health management into an everyday occurrence. New innovations in technology, consumer analytics learned from other industries, richer healthcare data, and improved analytics have put us in a better position to create more engaging consumer tools. Our next generation of tools must make healthcare a routine, easy, and intuitive part of every consumer’s day. 

    Anita Nair-Hartman
    Vice President Market Planning and Strategy

    Hospitals Need Analytics to Focus Interventions, Prevent Readmissions

    By Michael R. Udwin/Friday, April 5, 2013
    Michael R. Udwin imageAs suggested in the New York Times article of March 29th, hospitals are confronting expanded readmissions penalties without clear direction on which interventions are likely to yield the greatest impact relative to their unique circumstances. To paraphrase Occam’s Razor, often the simplest explanation is best.

    How does this apply to readmissions? Over the years, Truven Health has helped its CareDiscovery customers connect the dots; linking patient populations across the spectrum of care from outpatient setting to hospital to post-discharge facility, and testing the impact of both process and practice on outcome. By following the patient path through risk-adjusted models, we can test and quantify the results of competing readmission theories.

    As you might expect, it is often the simplest theory that prevails. Of course, such analytics not only validate the theory but serve to identify the drivers behind the higher than expected readmissions. Only at this point can one be assured that the application of evidence-based protocols can optimally address the highlighted opportunity. With diminished reimbursements and expanded disease burden, now more than ever hospitals must harness true and proven analytics to ensure a thriving population and future.  

    Michael R Udwin, MD, FACOG
    Medical Director 

    Announcing Truven Health Analytics

    By Truven Staff/Wednesday, June 6, 2012
    Truven Health Logo 2012We’re pleased to announce that the $1.25 billion sale of the Thomson Reuters Healthcare business to an affiliate of Veritas Capital was completed today.  The company’s many well-known brands, established in more than 30 years of leadership in the healthcare industry, include Advantage Suite®, Action OI®, MarketScan®, 100 Top Hospitals®, CareDiscoveryTM and Micromedex®.
    The newly independent company will be known as Truven Health Analytics, a name based on the words ‘truth’ and ‘proven’ that speaks to the strength of its offerings, expertise, and people.
    Truven Health Analytics provides data, analytics and performance benchmarking solutions and services to hospitals, health systems, employers, health plans, government agencies and pharmaceutical companies.  With leading assets and solutions coupled with expert services and analysis, Truven Health Analytics provides its customers with solutions to identify savings, improve outcomes, detect fraud, and more efficiently manage their healthcare operations.
    Truven Health Analytics employs approximately 2,200 people worldwide and has its principal offices in Ann Arbor, Chicago and Denver.
    We look forward to continuing to help you stay in tune with the issues affecting healthcare, along with our perspectives based on analysis of the data behind the trends.