Population Health, A Look Ahead

By Justin Neece, Chief Operation Officer, i2i Population Health

Justin Neese“Pressure can burst a pipe, or pressure can make a diamond,” as former NBA great Robert Horry is fond of saying. The new year brings a new presidential administration, a change in national healthcare policy and new pressures to the healthcare ecosystem. The smoke hasn’t cleared yet, but for those of us in healthcare information technology, both diamonds and pipeline ruptures are likely.

Diamonds

The movement to value-based care continues.

Though a repeal of the Affordable Care Act is likely, the majority of health care CEOs polled in a recent Modern Healthcare survey are confident the shift to value-based care will go on. In addition, many of the investments in healthcare infrastructure necessary for a shift to value-based care have already been made. But because of changes in funding mechanisms, providers will be under pressure to get the most value out of every dollar.

Health IT can – and will – work harder than ever.

The cost control pressure referenced above should spur providers to take advantage of every tool available to make every dollar count towards the best possible patient outcome. Whether it’s a focus on user experience, efficiency, or other requirements, now is the time to optimize technology platforms to give providers what they need to become more data-driven.

Become patient relationship experts.

Providers must figure out how to manage the patient relationship both clinically and financially. Moving forward, the patient is going to control a great deal of cost structure and cash flow.

Ruptured Pipes

Decision paralysis brought on by uncertainty.

The individual mandate is certainly on the chopping block. Hospitals, as the backbone of the nation’s health care delivery system, must be ready to cope with the predicted rise in the uninsured population. They can’t afford to take a wait and see approach.

Neither can federally qualified health centers, which often care for the most vulnerable populations. Both must push beyond the looming uncertainty to make sure their

healthcare data and analytics ecosystem is yielding the population health and other insights necessary to meet required benchmarks.  Whether they work with healthcare plans to manage Medicaid patients or survive on government grants, there is funding to be had for those organizations who have the data to validate their impact.

There’s much more to be deciphered once a Trump administration is fully underway. For health care executives, the only certainty is change – and more of it.

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