5 Enablers for Population Health Management

In a January 23 webinar hosted by Becker's Hospital Review, experts from Objective Health, a McKinsey Solution, discussed key enablers for the development of population health strategies. The webinar featured James Stanford, client service executive with Objective Health, and Luis Almeida Fernandes, Greg Gilbert, Peter Groves and Will Wright, all with McKinsey & Company.

Along with case studies and discussion about the deployment of population health technology, the experts analyzed five specific enablers for value-based care delivery models. These enablers act as the foundation for population-based care. They support multidisciplinary, team-based care delivery — not only among providers, but with payors as well — and support a system in which patients are organized by risk.  

1. Aligned incentives and reimbursement models. How can incentives be aligned between payors and providers across the continuum of care to support population health? This includes individual incentives that are transparent and sufficiently attractive for individuals to deem the program worthwhile.

2. Accountability and joint decision-making. What decisions do you control or influence across the continuum of care? In one case study the experts discussed during the webinar, a health system established mechanisms for decision-making and clinical governance structures to extend across a care team.

3. Information transparency and decision support. How should information transparency and support be integrated between providers? A key component of this is the flow of data across care settings, so that clinicians can work from the same dataset. "Breaking down silos in the appropriate ways to really feed data is a challenge, and it should not be underestimated. There is a real need to get data right and delivered on time," said Mr. Gilbert.

4. Patient engagement. How can patients be engaged to better manage their own health? Do patients trust the program? Certain systems can better enable patients to take the reins of healthcare delivery, such as real-time test results that are sent to the patient as well as the physician. "How you approach patient engagement is critical to the success of these programs," said Mr. Gilbert.

5. Clinical empowerment. How well do clinical leadership and team-based efforts deliver the right care to the right patient at the right time? This includes evidence-based protocols, redesigned workflows, and multidisciplinary and collaborative care delivery.

In a poll, webinar attendees were asked to indicate the enabler they considered most influential when implementing population-based models at scale. Here were their responses:
• Aligning payor and provider incentives — 49 percent
• Accountability and joint decision making among providers —23 percent
• Information transparency and decision support —13 percent
• Establishing direct patient engagement —14 percent
• Clinical empowerment — 2 percent

In another poll, 43 percent of webinar attendees said they see population health management models growing quickly but not becoming the majority in the next three years. Thirty-two percent said they expect "slow but steady" growth for these models, while 22 percent believe population health will be explosive through 2016 and will become "the new normal."

The experts said that recently, providers have begun reevaluating their strategic posture to population health and accountable care models, increasing their commitment to building capabilities in this space.

"While hospitals are often comparing themselves to others and trying to achieve best practice, there could be a huge amount of value to unlock by forgetting everyone else and reinventing your own workflows," says Mr. Stanford. "Much of the so called 'playbook' is being written right now. So the providers I see experimenting with novel approaches — even if they get it wrong from time to time — they're going to be the ones who build the strongest capabilities for the future. This transformation doesn't happen overnight."

View or download the Webinar by clicking here (wmv). We suggest you download the video to your computer before viewing to ensure better quality. If you have problems viewing the video, which is in Windows Media Video format, you can use a program like VLC media player, free for download by clicking here.

Download a copy of the presentation by clicking here (pdf).

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