Most health providers lag in implementing population health management: 5 findings

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Most healthcare providers continue to fall behind in progress toward population health and value-based models of care despite broad agreement it will be important for future market success, according to a national study by Numerof & Associates.

The study, released Feb. 2, synthesizes survey responses from more than 300 executives and in-depth interviews with more than 100 key decision makers across U.S. healthcare delivery organizations.

Here are five findings from the study.

1. More than half — 54 percent — of survey respondents believe population health is "critically important" to the future success of their organization. Nearly all — 97 percent — of survey respondents believe it is more than "somewhat important," the study found.

2. However, the majority of respondents from organizations in agreements with upside gain or downside risk said 20 percent or less of their revenues move through those agreements.

3. Two-thirds of survey respondents view their organization's ability to manage variation in cost at the physician level as "average" or worse.

4. Less than 60 percent of survey respondents believe payers as more than "somewhat willing" to enter into cost/quality risk agreements.

5. The report found differences based on geography. Sixty-nine percent of survey respondents in New England reported their organizations were in an agreement with the potential for both upside gain and downside risk, compared to 43 percent in the South.

"U.S. healthcare organizations are entering a period of greater change and disruption than any industry this side of taxicabs," Rita Numerof, PhD, president of Numerof & Associates, said in a prepared statement. "However, our study finds that most providers are still just testing the waters with these models and to date there's still far more talk than action when it comes to population health management."

"The traditional players in the payer, provider and manufacturer spaces are wrestling simultaneously with not just the question of how to change — but how fast," Michael Abrams, managing partner of Numerof & Associates, added. "A select set of leaders are making real progress, but overall we're still a long way from where we need to be."



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