How to succeed at population health management in the shifting healthcare environment

In a webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review, four industry experts discussed strategies for effective population health management in a value-based care environment and the competencies required for success.

Ron Greeno, MD, executive vice president of strategy and innovation at Cogent Healthcare — a hospitalist and inpatient care management services provider — along with his colleague Lakshmi Halasyamani, MD, Cogent's CMO, provided strategies for successful population health management during the webinar.

In addition, Louis G. Smith, Jr., CEO of Memorial Hermann Northeast Hospital in Humble, Texas, and Michael O. Leavitt, founder and chairman of Leavitt Partners, former HHS secretary and former three-time governor of Utah, discussed the changing healthcare landscape and the role hospitalists will play in the transition.

"The healthcare landscape has begun to shift," said Gov. Leavitt, and more organizations are using population health as a way of caring for more people at a more affordable price. Although the rate at which the shift to value-based care will occur varies by market, Gov. Leavitt believes risk-based payments will become the predominant method over the next two to four years.

Dr. Greeno expects all healthcare organizations to be in the population health business in the next five to 10 years. "To survive in a population health management environment is a challenge," he said.

There are specific competencies that can help hospitals succeed in a population health world, such as building a culture focused on the patient and developing a capacity to continuously improve. Gov. Leavitt said developing a respected brand, gaining the ability to manage risk and creating a large geographic footprint are among the essential competencies needed to succeed in the new healthcare landscape.

Population health also requires striking a balance between quality and cost control, which can be a difficult task. However, both can be achieved if hospitals "are really driving evidence based processes of care," said Mr. Smith. "It takes a very robust participation by physicians to be on the cutting edge of that to make sure patients are receiving the care they need, no more, no less." He said hospitalists can help provide the alignment needed.

There are currently 44,000 physicians that identify themselves as hospitalists, and their role is still evolving every day. "True to the origins of the specialty, it is being looked to as a way to manage risk," said Dr. Greeno.

"I think a significant number of hospitalists emerged because of human compassion," said Dr. Halasyamani. As hospitalists began to become more familiar in hospitals they gained competency in improving patient experience and patient outcomes. "Hospitalists have a unique opportunity to impact patients when they are the most clinically vulnerable," she said.

Download the webinar presentation slides here.

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