Why is Population Health Important
Feb 6, 2021Why is Population Health Important?

Better population health means better outcomes and healthier lives for your patients. It also means higher revenues and quality scores for your practice. Your practice plays a vital role in population health management by following your patients' care needs inside and outside your office. As payers focus on value over volume, your practice will need to adjust to a patient health mindset. 

Here is why population health is important for your practice.

What is Population Health?

The population health definition is the average health status, health outcomes, and quality of life in your practice's community. Focusing on population health shifts your practice's perspective. Managing your patient's health requires broad efforts to reach out to patients who are struggling outside of office visits. By improving your patient's health, you can save and extend more lives. You can also increase your efficiency.

Many population health management efforts focus on patients with chronic conditions. Typically, these patients face a higher risk of poor outcomes between visits. Health interventions support patients where they live and work through outreach, communication, and care coordination. By keeping in touch with patients and their other providers, you can help them manage their conditions more effectively.

The efforts of managing your patient's health can also extend to entire communities. For example, health systems may partner with local practices and social service organizations to coordinate care and meet the broader health and social needs of patients. These efforts require data sharing and a commitment to continuous improvement.

Better Population Health Means More Equitable Care

Managing population health means spending more resources on your highest-risk patients. Those patients may not frequently make appointments for office visits. Your practice can improve health equity by targeting those patients likely to fall through the cracks. This includes patients with chronic conditions who make infrequent visits to your office or miss appointments. Health management tools can help you reach these patients between visits, improving their continuity of care.

Your NextGen EHR can help you identify high-risk patients regardless of how frequently they make appointments. Using population health analysis and risk stratification, you can find patients who may need extra support. When your practice focuses on population health, you target resources to those at the highest risk of negative health outcomes. This approach is more equitable than the traditional approach, which targets resources to those who make the most appointments.

Making healthcare more equitable also helps your bottom line. With fewer adverse patient outcomes like hospitalizations, you can increase your quality scores and earn bonus payments.

Payers Are Investing In Improving Patient Help

Medicare, Medicaid, and private payers are all investing in population health. For example, Medicare's Accountable Care Organization model makes health systems and their partners accountable for managing and improving their assigned patient population's health. Similarly, the Medicare and Medicaid Accountable Health Communities model requires health care systems to manage population health by coordinating with social service providers.

Private and public payers have also developed value-based payment strategies. Under value-based payment, practices and health systems are responsible for managing both the quality and cost of care. If your practice is exploring value-based payment, you will need to focus on population health. Population health management is the key to reducing costs while improving quality across your patient population. 

To stay competitive in today's health care market, you can not just focus on day-to-day appointments. Your revenue increasingly depends on taking a broader view. Your practice must develop systems to identify high-risk patients and prevent negative outcomes. This will not only increase revenue but will improve the health of your patients and their communities.

Your NextGen EHR Can Help With Population Health Management

Your NextGen EHR has many tools to help you with population health management. Your NextGen EHR contains a wealth of data about your patients and your practice. NextGen Population Health's built-in analytic tools can help you see the complete picture of your patient population. This includes patients who may fall through the cracks and need extra support between visits.

Data sharing and interoperability are critical for population health management. Your NextGen EHR can share and receive data from other EHRs with NextGen Share. This software helps you get a complete picture of your patients' care and any gaps in that care. Your NextGen EHR can help you coordinate care across the health system, improving outcomes. Data sharing also helps prevent medical errors and duplicative testing. This saves your practice and your patients time and money.

Your NextGen EHR can use algorithms to help you identify and stratify high-risk patients. While these algorithms are not perfect, they are effective for targeting outreach and resources to those most likely to need additional support.

TempDev has also developed NextGen TemplatesDashboards, and Reports to help you manage population health. For example, the Quality Dashboard brings your key quality measures together in one place for when you have your patients are at the point of care. You can see lagging quality measures and work to improve them before they affect your reimbursement. TempDev's NextGen templates, Dashboards, and Reports can also help you:

How TempDev Can Help You Manage Your Patient's Health

TempDev's consultants and developers can help you get the most out of your NextGen EHR. TempDev's NextGen experts can create custom tools to help you manage population health. They can also help you create new workflows for patient outreach and management. Whatever your population health goals, TempDev can help.

Call us at 888.TEMP.DEV or contact us here for help with population health management.