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Survey: Care Coordination Continues to be Biggest Challenge for Effective Population Health Management

March 7, 2016
by Heather Landi
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More than two-thirds of hospitals and health systems already have population health management programs in place, yet care coordination continues to be a top challenge for most patient care organizations, according to a recent healthcare leadership survey.

HIMSS Media, on behalf of health IT vendor Royal Philips, conducted the survey of 105 healthcare IT leaders to gauge how health leaders are prioritizing technology investments and addressing population health management. Of the respondents, 85 percent represent either standalone hospitals or integrated delivery networks (IDNs). And, three quarter of participants are in C-level positions or IT leaders, and 27 percent are clinically focused.

Along with care coordination, healthcare IT leaders who responded to the survey identified financial investment as another key challenge in their efforts to achieve effective population health management, as well as data management, patient engagement and adherence and cohort identification and risk stratification.

Additionally, the survey found that driving measurable clinical improvements and ensuring interoperability remain the focus of health information technology (HIT) investments in 2016. These investments are focused on enhancing electronic medical record (EMR) functionality and connecting data across clinical systems within the health system to provide a broader picture of individual patients and better manage populations, according to the survey findings.

For those hospitals and health systems that already have population health management programs in place, more than half of respondents have a chronic patient management program in place while nearly two-third are addressing readmissions, acute care and patient education through those programs. When asked where they planned to spend resources in the near future, respondents listed mobile wellness monitoring (52.5 percent), aging well (46.5 percent) and home monitoring devices (45.5 percent) as their top priorities.

According to the survey, half of respondents plan to use cloud-based technology in big data analytics. Additional investment plans are focused on managed application deployment (41.9 percent), clinical data storage (39 percent) and health information exchanges (39 percent).

And the majority of respondents said their existing population health management investment focuses on telehealth systems, health information exchanges (HIEs) and analytics.

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