The Quest For Population Health Management

David F. Carr | InformationWeek | March 4, 2014

Vendors large and small seek to prove they have the right tools for proactively managing patient health, coordinating care across providers, and supporting accountable-care models.

Veterans of the HIMSS health IT conference say the emphasis on population health management at this year's show was nothing new, except now the focus is shifting from theory to practice. Healthcare reform and shifting patterns of reimbursement are driving healthcare organizations to seek technology that can help the track, analyze, and predict care to individuals and that can coordinate care for higher quality at a lower cost.

Many hospital CIOs believe they are only a few years away from seeing more than half of their income come from value-based contracts in which making money depends on quality measures, such as superior prevention and management of chronic diseases, rather than the volume of services delivered. Already, hospitals are feeling the sting of penalties imposed on their Medicare and Medicaid contracts when too many of their patients are readmitted to the hospital within 30 days -- taken as a sign of failing to deliver the right care the first time.