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.
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?