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8 Key population health issues for 2012

Posted Dec 27 2011 3:31pm

Keys Link: 8 Key issues for population health management in 2012

This article in Healthcare IT News caught my eye. A white paper written by the Care Continuum Alliance described significant market movement toward accountability and value driven healthcare outcomes as a result of collaborative models, such as ACOs. However, there are 8 key issues that could affect population health management in 2012:

  1. Accountable care and the Medicare Shared Savings program
  2. Consumer use of mobile and eHealth technologies
  3. Reducing avoidable hospital readmissions in Medicare
  4. Quality improvement in Medicare advantage
  5. Opportunities to support insourced programs
  6. Improving care coordination for dual eligibles
  7. Federal support for prevention and wellness
  8. Development of ACA health insurance exchanges

Each of these items contains a plethora of complex issues that will require agreement, alignment, and cooperation between distinct parties. In order to simplify my thoughts on this topic, I offer the following.

Accountable care and collaborative models certainly provide the opportunity with electronic records to capture and disseminate research and/or de-identified clinical data for surveillance. The link to "accountability" also provides the impetus to develop predictive analytics, a personal favorite.

It is well known that mobile technology, including smart phones, are changing the nature of "computer use" and internet access. According to the article the author stated that "a patient-centered, consumer-empowered, pull-rather-than-push model will dominate, with social media in a position of importance."

Reducing re-admissions? Well, we should already be doing this, unfortunately the quality of healthcare in certain situations, or the variable factors in a patient's condition and care makes this a tough goal to reach all the time. However, Medicare tracking is looking a 3 conditions - heart failure, acute myocardial infarction and pneumonia.

Finally, the other items tout the value of competitive forces in healthcare resulting from support of "insourced programs," development of health insurance exchanges in 2014, and the single idea that is near and dear to a nurse - support for prevention and wellness!

Prevention and wellness has not been a priority for most clinicians due to its non-reimbursable status. Let's hope that changes. Since the Prevention and Public Health Fund is under discussion, Medicare added annual wellness visits and expanded coverage of obesity and cardiovascular disease prevention services.

2012 brings a year of great change and challenge. Best wishes to all for a safe, happy, and prosperous new year!

 


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