As the healthcare paradigm shifts from treating illness toward preventing illness, providers are being challenged to adopt new models of care delivery and to embrace evolving concepts of value-driven reimbursement strategies. Moreover, healthcare providers must give increased attention to improving healthcare in a manner that improves health outcomes across population groups for the entire nation. For example, data must be collected on populations and assessed to determine the effectiveness of different approaches.
Read the attached article, for insight into some of the issues that providers face in making the shift toward population health management. Imagine that you are the new Chief Population Officer for an integrated health system, and you are tasked by your health system CEO with identifying the challenges of such an implementation, analyzing why these challenges exist, discovering research-based proposed solutions for these challenges, and debating the pros and cons of each of these solutions.
Your assignment consists of three parts.
Part 1: Identify Challenges
- Identify five of the most significant challenges to implementing a population-health approach for improving health outcomes and promoting wellness in the United States.
- Each challenge should be a sub-heading in this part of the paper. Present the challenge, describe it, and provide some history or background, based on credible research sources. If you need writing assistance, see the Rasmussen College Writing Guide.
Part 2: Analysis of Challenges
- Explain each challenge you identified in Part 1 and provide a comprehensive discussion about why each has broad and far-reaching implications for improving the health of the U.S. population.
- Use data and scholarly research to support your thinking and bolster your discussion.
Part 3: Discover Proposed Solutions
- Discuss proposed solutions to each of your five identified challenges. These are to be solutions you have found in your research.
- Discuss the pros and cons of the solutions you have discovered. What are the arguments for and against these proposed solutions and by whom? This requires critical analysis. You will want to assess the solutions, as well as their detractors and supporters and any possible biases for each. You will want to think through how solutions would be implemented, funded, supported, and received by various stakeholders such as medical professionals, government, and the public.
- The complete paper should address the three parts and to include a title and reference page.
- You must include at least eight credible sources, five of which must be scholarly sources from peer reviewed journals.
- Format your paper according to APA guidelines. For help with APA, visit the Rasmussen College APA Guide.
MARCH/APRIL 2018h e a l t h m g t t e c h . c o m 24
:::::::::: POPULATION HEALTH
opulation health management is
recognized as a means of improv-
ing care quality, clinical outcomes,
effi ciency, and even fi nancial outcomes.
Because it offers so many benefi ts,
population health management seems
poised to become a practice that is
widely adopted by healthcare provid-
ers. But, transitioning to a population
health model is not without challenges,
and many healthcare teams run into
obstacles ranging from staffi ng to strat-
egy development. Fortunately, smart
use of the patient engagement technol-
ogy that most teams already have in
place can make implementing a popu-
lation health program less of a struggle.
Will there be staffi ng challenges?
A popular belief among healthcare
providers is that population health
management programs either put sig-
nificant strain on staff or require ad-
ditional hires. In fact, a West survey
revealed that 44% of providers expect
that adopting a population health pro-
gram will create staffing issues. It is
not surprising that healthcare teams
feel population health management
requires staffing adjustments. A well-
executed program involves analyzing
clinical data, stratifying patients by
risk and disease, developing personal-
ized outreach campaigns for subpop-
ulations of patients, regularly com-
municating with patients, monitoring
patients between visits, and taking
steps to proactively help patients
avoid adverse health issues. These
responsibilities are not part of the
normal routine for a lot of healthcare
teams. As a result, most providers do
not believe their current staff can sup-
port these efforts. In reality, many of
the tasks associated with population
health management can be automated
and done very efficiently. The task of
patient outreach is a prime example.
As an example, it is not realistic for a
physician to manually contact 500 pa-
tients on a routine basis to see how well
they are managing their blood pressure.
But, staff can easily automate this out-
reach and send targeted messages to a
group of patients that have elevated or
high blood pressure. Patients might re-
ceive a text message reminding them to
fi ll their blood pressure medication and
take it as directed. They could be sent
a voice message that prompts them to
complete a survey about their lifestyle
and symptoms. Or, patients may get an
email with tips for reducing their sodi-
um intake. Messages like these, that are
relevant to a group of patients, can be
sent on a one-to-many basis. This type
of patient communication has a large
reach, but it requires minimal staff time
to execute. The point is, the repetitive
outreach that benefi ts groups of pa-
tients with similar health conditions
and needs can be performed automati-
cally—so the strain on clinical staff is
limited. Staffi ng becomes much less of
a problem when teams rely on auto-
mated technology-enabled communi-
cations to handle portions of the popu-
lation health management process.
Developing a strategy
More than one-third of healthcare
teams are uncertain of how to develop
a population health strategy. West’s
survey revealed that 38% of providers
feel there is a lack of population health
management best practices, which
makes designing a population health
Healthcare teams can gain the in-
sights they need for developing their
population health strategy by examin-
ing their own clinical data. Information
from electronic health records is use-
ful for identifying what groups make
up a larger population, and from that
information, the types of support and
communication needed. Practices will
typically want to design a set of com-
munications to engage and support
patients with common chronic condi-
tions. That could mean creating a cam-
paign geared toward managing obesity,
and another campaign aimed at man-
When designing patient outreach
campaigns, healthcare teams don’t
Navigating population healthhealth
need to reinvent the wheel. They sim-
ply need to craft messages that will
engage patients and encourage them to
do things to manage their specifi c con-
ditions. A clinic’s diabetic patients can
be assigned a series of automated com-
munications that alert them when they
are due for an A1c draw, prompt them
to schedule routine foot or eye exams
or report their glucose levels to their
care manager. If providers consider the
ideal behaviors and actions they want
to see from patients, and build their
engagement communication strategy
around those things, they will be on
the right track.
Most providers will want to dedi-
cate a lot of effort to chronic-disease
management, and rightfully so. How-
ever, one tip teams should remember
when building their population health
program is to focus on preventing is-
sues across all patients under their
care. That includes prevention for
“healthy” patients, too. Teams can de-
velop outreach campaigns that engage
all patients within their population, so
patients who do not have chronic con-
ditions can maintain their good health.
Despite the obstacles, population
health management provides many
benefits for patients and providers.
Healthcare teams that want to pur-
sue a population health management
program can minimize challenges by
starting to use technology to automate
key processes, and engage and sup-
port patients. HM T
Vice President of
How healthcare teams can use technology to support
population health programs.
By Allison Hart
HMT201803-04_PopHealth-West_MECH_GH.indd 24HMT201803-04_PopHealth-West_MECH_GH.indd 24 2/15/2018 3:09:23 PM2/15/2018 3:09:23 PM
Copyright of Health Management Technology is the property of NP Communications, LLC
and its content may not be copied or emailed to multiple sites or posted to a listserv without
the copyright holder’s express written permission. However, users may print, download, or
email articles for individual use.