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Healthcare providers prioritize population health, but face challenges

By Clayton Nicholas

Healthcare providers continue to focus on population health management to improve health outcomes as the industry shifts to value-based care. But there are a number of challenges that still stand in their way.

Clayton Nicholas
“The Executive Insights session at the Midas+ Annual Symposium is an opportunity for healthcare leaders to learn from one another in a trusted environment.” – Clayton Nicholas, senior vice president and general manager, Midas+ Solutions

Each spring, more than 350 healthcare provider executives come to Tucson, Arizona, for our annual Midas+ Symposium. With a focus on insight-driven transformation in the areas of quality of care management, quality measurement and reporting, healthcare analytics and the migration to population health management and value-based care, it’s an opportunity to learn from industry leaders and collaborate with peers.

The event also gives us a rare opportunity to collect feedback and take the pulse of a group of healthcare leaders. The Executive Insights session – a “conference within the conference” – is a half-day workshop for about 20 of the most senior level executives from some of the largest healthcare providers in the nation. For the past two years, we’ve polled this group about population health management in order to understand where they are on the journey to value-based care.

For the second consecutive year, providers polled unanimously agreed that population health management is necessary as the U.S. shifts to value-based care. The top three motivations for adopting population health management programs remain the same year-over-year: improved health outcomes, cost containment and improved patient relationships.

However, providers still face a number of challenges.

Poor care coordination across providers was ranked as the most significant challenge in 2016, followed by data management and integration capabilities, and creating actionable intelligence from available data. This isn’t surprising, as provider consolidation across the care continuum and increased investments in IT remain top priorities for hospitals and health systems in 2016 according to the American Hospital Association.

However, these challenges are concerning, as they are each crucial to the success of population health management programs. And in light of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services mandate that 50 percent of payments be value-based by 2018, providers need to find a way to adapt to this new way of working now.

In addition to updating clients about improvements to Midas+ products, the Symposium was a fantastic opportunity to inspire attendees and enable them to connect with and learn from some of the most influential voices in the industry today. We had the pleasure of hosting a great line-up of keynote speakers:

  • Dr. Richard Carmona – the 17th Surgeon General of the United States.
  • Dr. Eric Topol – the director of Scripps Translational Science Institute and co-founder of the West Wireless Health Institute.
  • Dr. Mike Evans – a staff physician at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, Ontario and lead of Digital Prevention at St. Michael’s Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute.
  • Dr. Rhonda Medows – the executive vice president of population health at Providence Health & Services.

Thank you to our attendees for making the 2016 Midas+ Annual Symposium an educational, inspiring success! I’m looking forward to continuing to partner with our clients to help them advance their population health management strategies and improve health outcomes over the next year.