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How to Drive Clinician Adoption of Population Health - Cover

How to Drive Clinician Adoption of Population Health

As we’ve prepared to host the KLAS Investment Symposium later this month, with our partners: TripleTree, Intermountain Healthcare, and the Marwood Group--we’ve wrestled with what subjects would bring the most value to attendees. It quickly became apparent that the population health market (PHM) can’t be ignored. Our hope is to provide insights that cut through the market buzz – some might say when it comes to PHM it’s a “marketing roar”--and help investors and vendors know what the needs of providers are, and where to best leverage their resources.

Defining Population Health

The healthcare industry sits in various stages of adopting population health tools, with many providers feeling like their training wheels are coming off, while others haven’t bought the bike yet. KLAS convened a group of providers and vendors in 2016 for our Keystone Conference on Population Health to hammer out a solid definition of what a population health tool should look like.

The conference – and subsequent white paper – broke down the core competencies of a population health solution. Ideally, a PHM tool should have the following functionalities:

  1. Aggregation
  2. Analytics
  3. Care Coordination / Health Improvement
  4. Administrative / Financial
  5. Patient Engagement
  6. Clinician Engagement

Now there’s obviously a lot to each of these six “verticals” as they’re called in the white paper, and I would invite you to read the white paper to get the full picture. Historically when KLAS has talked about population health, we haven’t put so much focus on the need for clinician engagement. The need to drive physician adoption of PHM became clear last year when KLAS convened the conference and published the white paper.

Designing PHM Tools For Clinicians

So, what is being done to drive physician adoption of these tools?

To begin with, vendors need to design tools that keep clinician engagement in mind. The Keystone 2016 attendees strongly emphasized that even basic PHM tools would ideally include:

  • Single sign-on integration
  • Integration/ability for a care provider working in the population health tool to efficiently take action in the EMR
  • Integration/presentation of care gaps to providers within the provider (EMR) workflow.
  • Ability to integrate with multiple EMR platforms
  • Ability to track clinician usage and activity

For provider organizations to drive deep adoption among clinicians, these basic functionalities must at least exist in a given tool. Ideally, PHM solutions should look beyond these core capabilities and seek to anticipate the future needs of providers. Luckily, in that same conference, providers gave some insight into the advanced features they’d love to see PHM tools provide:

  • Timely integration of PHM tool data and alerts displayed within the EMR workflow, and stored within the EMR.
  • API-based (FHIR or other API) integration with EMR solutions
  • Presentation of care gaps to providers within the provider workflow with the ability to act within the provider workflow.

Heading in the Right Direction 

Finding tools that check all these marks (as well as excel in the other 5 verticals outlined in the Population Health White Paper) may seem like a pipe dream, but we feel that the industry is headed in the right direction. As we move down the path, advancements such as these will help organizations to not only implement patient-centric population health strategies, but drive deep adoption among their end-users.

Thankfully, KLAS isn’t the only organization who’s been looking to identify and provide clarity to the issues of Population Health. TripleTree, one of the partners of the upcoming KLAS Investment Symposium, has also recently published some research in this area. While their framework defining what makes a PHM tool varies slightly from ours--for example, their framework is broken into 4 categories instead of 6--we hope that our readers will take the opportunity to hear what they have to say as well.

Ultimately, KLAS and TripleTree agree that the industry is at a turning point in regard to population health and are excited to see where the future takes PHM. From simple data aggregation to deep patient and clinician engagement, we face a long road to full adoption. Hopefully, with data-driven decisions, that road won’t have any more bumps than necessary.