As part of its efforts to accelerate readiness for population health management, Broward Health in south Florida took a look at best-of-breed vendors. However, when decision time came, the five-hospital delivery system turned to the ancillary tools of Cerner Corp.—its electronic health records vendor.

Broward Health issued a request for proposal with 100-plus questions and got 27 responses, but quickly realized it was difficult comparing apples to apples among all the vendors’ features, and to determine how easily the vendors could integrate with Cerner.

Just as importantly, says Mark Sprada, corporate chief nursing officer, many of the best-of-breed vendors are trying to speed to market and aren’t there yet with offerings, while others turned out not as sophisticated as they claimed to be.

Cerner, on the other hand, could rapidly implement it population health management suite and Broward could get VIP partner treatment for expanding the contract. The timetable calls for the vendor’s HealtheIntent product to retrieve data from across Broward and its insurers to identify, score and predict individual patient healthcare risks and steer them to the right treatment programs to be implemented by the end of January. The HealtheLife patient engagement and Readmission Prevention platforms should be up by March.

Also See: Population Health Market Forecast to Double by 2010

Broward Health is the ninth largest public safety net system in the nation with a large population of vulnerable individuals, including undocumented immigrants and the homeless. South Florida has one of the fastest growing HIV rates in the nation and a critical population health management task is to identify those infected and their partners, educate them and make sure they are getting in programs to help pay for medications, Sprada says. Caribbean immigrants are another core target for outreach as they are more prone to hypertension, he adds.

Consequently, Broward—which receives $140 million annually from local property taxes to care for vulnerable populations—is engaging in targeted communications to individuals via text and email to encourage visits to get mammograms, substance abuse treatment and physicals, among other services. “We’re really being age and population-specific with our marketing,” Sprada says.

More examples of how providers are moving fast toward population health management and the lessons they are learning during the trek will be the focus of a feature story in the January issue of Health Data Management.

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