Where is population health heading?

Conceptually, population health enjoyed a banner year of promotion and publicity as one of the newest additions to the industry lexicon.

But has its performance and practice so far kept pace with its marketing momentum? Even though some argue that it’s early, reviews largely are mixed.

So what strategies and tactics will it take for population health to progress more this year and next?

Because the amount of data will increase in the years ahead, providers and payers must streamline their processes for tracking and reporting on quality measures, according to Mary Hardy, Director, Health Data Analytics, ZirMed.

“They need to prioritize their ability to aggregate data [because] existing stop-gaps that rely on manually compiling, normalizing, and submitting data will only become less feasible as the demand for that data among payers grows, and as the need to integrate data from other providers becomes more critical to value-based and accountable care models,” Hardy says. “Without effective data aggregation, assigned risk scores may not reflect the realities of your patient populations, setting off a cascading detrimental effect on reimbursement and undercutting your ability to make progress toward specific quality targets.

“Comprehensive data aggregation helps organizations identify clinical best practices at the physician level, and it’s the key to accurately assessing the effectiveness of disease management programs,” she continues. “Like anything else, there’s a twofold risk: That what you’re doing isn’t working, or that it is working and you don’t realize it because another problem is masking the success.”

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