Implementing a transformative population health analytics program that delivers actionable intelligence and allows your leaders and staff to execute in the face of competing priorities is a daunting task. Your organization must be able to focus and deliver, yet also be flexible enough to wisely manage opportunities presented by relentless industry transformation. Many healthcare organizations struggle with this dichotomy: can your administration and staff access insightful, accurate information when making critical decisions that change the status quo?
Given the rate of market innovation, we've found that the ability to learn on the fly has become incredibly useful to healthcare leaders. Like a boat in the wind, you need relevant, nimble intelligence and processes that keep you afloat, but allow you to efficiently change course as priorities change. Given the challenges of creating a culture that relies on useable, applicable information, not intuition or best guess, how do you keep your population health analytics program from sinking?
Leaders should try to avoid common pitfalls such as those illustrated in the accompanying chart. Since the transformation to value-based care is a journey, not a sprint, it's helpful to view population health analytics as an ongoing program with measurable, defined outcomes, such as decreasing hospital readmissions or improving quality of care as measured by evidence-based care guidelines. Adopting this viewpoint helps you identify and implement the preparation and processes needed to drive change over the long haul.
For best results, focus on delivering actionable information. Functional information that users can readily apply helps transforms static, locked-in analytics into intelligence that can positively impact patient outcomes. Consider the roles and needs of your staff: care managers, for example, need to identify high risk patients, patients who are using the ER for services that can be provided in a physician's office, patients who are likely to have a hospitalization in the near future, and similar. Clearly, population health intelligence that helps the care manager contact the right patient at the right time can improve both care and financial outcomes.
Since measuring success and assigning provider accountability requires that you develop competencies across the enterprise, you must also involve your stakeholders. Holding providers accountable for the care they deliver requires accurate, credible data. Determining the stakeholders you need at the table and involving them throughout your population health analytics process forges the confidence and mindset you need for this shift.
Lastly, it's important to focus on your end game in steps, and recognize that transformation doesn't happen quickly. By identifying projects that can deliver early wins, celebrating those milestones, and building on that success, you'll be on your way to creating a thriving patient-centered organization.
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