How Do Healthcare Organizations Succeed in Population Health? - Cover

How Do Healthcare Organizations Succeed in Population Health?

Recently, I wrote about what it takes for a vendor to be successful in the population health market (PHM). But the discussion about successful PHM implementations is incomplete if we neglect to discuss how providers themselves can prepare and execute on their goals.

Thankfully for me, these best practices don’t just come from my own mind; we might be in trouble were that the case. Instead, these recommendations come from the collected wisdom of those leaders who attended KLAS’ 2017 Population Health Summit.

Next week, many of these same leaders (and some new faces) will gather to discuss the next iteration of these best practices.

Best Practices for Provider Success

Maximizing Executive Relationships:

How can CIOs, CMIOs and CEOs work together to make population health efforts successful?

Cornerstone Summit attendees agreed: the CEO must lead on strategy. When the CEO doesn’t lead with a clear vision for PHM goals, it’s almost guaranteed that the organization’s leadership will be misaligned.

However, it’s important to note that if leadership does have unclear goals, the board of directors can help by instigating conversations to clear out the fog of war and clarify strategy.

The first step to improving communication is to identify problems. It takes courage to recognize that no organization (even the one you proudly lead) is perfect. The simple act of identifying issues can critically change the outcome of a PHM rollout.

Prioritize Strategy Over Technology:

Provider organizations should hold off on purchasing new technology until they’ve aligned leadership across the organization on PHM goals. This means identifying the outcomes and quality measures they want to achieve and working backwards from there.

While summit attendees debated over who specifically must be involved in building a PHM strategy, they agreed that some level of executives and physicians should have a hand in shaping the organization’s vision. It’s important to remember that extra effort put into strategizing pays dividends during the implementation of purchased tools.

Participants at the Cornerstone Summit also counseled that it is vital to establish strong governance, including identifying roles and aligning incentives to match PHM outcomes.

Commitment Matters:

It seems like many providers who established these best practices are Nike fans; “Just do it” was a common phrase when discussing the adoption of PHM. Attendees recommended starting with small initiatives to advance both value-based and fee-for-service goals.

Additionally, organizations should identify small, risk-based contracts that allow them to “playtest” initiatives before moving toward larger populations.

Providers and vendors should understand that provider organizations alone can’t succeed in a value-based care world. Vendors should get involved and share the risk of driving PHM outcomes.

Population health remains a fractured market, and most organizations need multiple vendor partners to achieve their goals, but last year’s summit attendees were optimistic about the progression of the market.

This year, we’ll refine questions about obstacles that stand in the way of the progress of value-based care.