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The Working Definition of Population Health - Cover

The Working Definition of Population Health

Earlier this year KLAS brought together a large group of the leading providers and vendors who have done the most work in population health. The purpose in bringing these groups together was to hone and refine our definition of population health. On the surface, constructing a framework to define population health sounds simple, but as we’ve conducted research through 2017, we’ve realized just how much detail such a framework needs.

The original framework was created a year ago. Recently we’ve seen it being used in other countries; providers in Australia, the United Kingdom, and the Middle East have started using it. This means that we pulled in broader perspectives, and hopefully have created something with more global application.

The KLAS Population Health framework consists of six elements, or verticals. Data aggregation, analysis, care management, administrative/financial reporting, patient engagement and clinician engagement. The early drafts of this definition only included the first four. Yet as we grew to understand the space, we realized that engaging both clinicians and patients is not only essential to success, but should be a focus for vendors/providers seeking to build and implement population health solutions.

Population Health Verticals chart

Because the population health market is still very much in its infancy, breaking the market into pieces helps providers understand where improvements need to be made, and who best can help. I spoke with a CIO from the UK recently who explained that she’s found a lot of utility when her department leaders come to her saying, “we’d like to expand our efforts in population health.” She’s able to help them define exactly what they’re talking about, and then hone in on the vendors that are best suited to partner with them.

Perhaps soon we’ll see vendors that cover the entire breadth of population health, but right now if a provider is looking to expand in this area, they’re looking at building a team of vendors, instead of just a sole star player. We hope that as KLAS moves forward, measuring vendors against this framework, we can begin to help providers know which vendors excel in certain areas, and where they may be lagging. In 2018, we’re planning to zero in on some of these topics specifically. We’ll be hosting a conference on patient engagement, to both share the data we’ve gathered over the course of our research and to gather insights and thought leadership from those providers and vendors who are experts in this space.