Exploring the Opportunities of Population Health Management | HSJ Partners
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Managing the health of the population is a lot like world peace: most people would say it is a good idea, but they are not quite sure how to achieve it – or even what it means.
Population health management is âthe cornerstoneâ of integrated health care systems, according to NHS England. He says “a better partnership using MPS to reach the right person with the right care solution helps improve outcomes, reduce duplication and use resources more efficiently.”
At OptumÂ® we are working with integrated systems across the country to help them integrate an MPS approach. But while there is a lot of enthusiasm, even passion, challenges remain.
Definitions remain a key issue. When working with leaders in the healthcare industry, one question we always ask is how they would rate the level of common understanding of MPS in their organizations, of one – indicating that MPS means something different to everyone. , at 10, where everyone speaks the same MPS language. Without fail, they mark it at two or three. In other words, they cannot say for sure that their system understands and agrees on what MPS stands for. This is quite enlightening when you consider that by April 2022, they are supposed to be part of integrated care systems built on the backbone of population health management.
That’s not to say they’re not keen to do it – they are. There is a real appetite for using linked data to gain a much richer understanding of a community so that we can start conversations with patients and citizens from a fundamentally different place. It is essential that everyone uses the new language with the same understanding.
So what should we do? First, we need to agree on what we mean by MPS: this definition needs to be shared at all levels and in all parts of an organization and a larger system – not just in healthcare , but in local authorities, third and independent sectors, and in the community more generally.
Then, it is necessary to ensure that an MPS approach is implemented in a comprehensive manner. This means taking stock of data assets, being able to link the data, and then use analytics to interpret it. Translating data from multiple sources into action is essential in determining where a system’s efforts should go, whether the challenge is to clear the backlog or reduce health inequalities.
Trying to persuade an exhausted workforce that MPS will not increase its burden, but will lighten it, is not easy. But we sincerely believe – and the evidence backs it – that MPS intelligence enables people working in healthcare to better prioritize how they spend their time for maximum impact. Working smarter not only saves time, it means a better experience for clinicians and patients.
It is also essential that systems understand that medication optimization is part of the MPS and should not be isolated or excluded from the conversation. Using a PHM approach can transform a system’s drug optimization efforts, ensuring that every prescription is the right one at the right time and maximizing the likelihood of effectiveness. Drug data also plays a crucial role in building a picture of a population’s health, so it works both ways. Effective clinical decision support tools are a key tool for taking MPS from a system perspective and translating that intelligence into a single patient on the GP’s desk.
Shifting to a holistic approach to MPS is a huge change management challenge, and we are not trying to minimize that. But there are tools and support available to help make this a reality.
When you truly seize the opportunities of MPS and watch it take root and flourish in integrated systems, then you can effect positive change. And it’s a language that anyone can adopt.
Rebecca Richmond, Director of Population Health Management, Optum UK,
Alex Miller, Product Manager (Medicines Optimization), Optum UK