Key industry players have identified six key capabilities needed within an application tool set to enable providers to successfully manage population health.
The industry stakeholders were convened by KLAS Enterprises, an Orem, Utah-based health information technology research firm, roughly following a pattern that it recently used to gain consensus on interoperability. The panel included executives representing 16 vendors, three other health services firms, 31 providers and two payer organizations.
KLAS executives said the intent was to reach consensus on a definition for the required core competencies for a population health management tool set. As a part of the process, the stakeholders devised definitions for six core tenets of population health, as well as basic functionalities that providers and payers need within those areas.
The original exercise became broader than expected, with participants trying to come to consensus on where vendors and consumers are with their technologies, says Taylor Davis, vice president of analysis and strategy at KLAS. “It was a good start; this is a pretty good checklist for someone getting into population health today.”
The six core tenets, which KLAS calls “verticals,” include:
- Aggregation of disparate clinical and administrative data to support population health.
- Segmentation and analysis of aggregated data to communicate meaningful information.
- Care coordination and health improvement tool to support standardized intervention.
- Internal/external analysis of administrative and financial strategic programs.
- Patient engagement aligned with goals for improvement.
- Actionable workflow integration to improve clinician engagement.
Risk-bearing organizations will often need functionalities not listed in the six tenets, according to a report developed by KLAS, but nearly all risk-bearing organizations will require those listed.
No vendor has products that have mature functionality in all six of the verticals, Davis notes, adding that, “Every vendor has a population health solution because they have something to understand risk, provide care and improve outcomes.”
What KLAS is offering, he adds, is the ability of providers and payers to start defining which vendors have fairly complete niche solution.
Two additional KLAS reports during 2017 will further examine the degree to which vendors are offering new tools at scale, and whether consumers are really starting to utilize the tools. Healthcare, Davis says, will dramatically change over the next several years and so will the IT tools.
Authors of the KLAS report offer cautionary advice to vendors, warning that when sales are made to a CEO or CIO, cutting out the CMIO and others, they often end up in failure. Authors also have harsh words for some vendor tactics. “The biggest disconnect many providers see with vendors is not with the on-the-ground implementers or the leadership. Instead, the greatest disconnect is often with the sales teams. The population health market has been plagued by over-selling. Honesty and lack of buzzwords are strong sales pitches in today’s environment.”
However, authors also offer a series of best practice recommendations for vendors, such as great vendors go on site and learn the complexity of an organization’s clinical workflows, and they provide education and best practices along with examples of success from other provider organizations. The report is available here.
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