As we prepare to host the KLAS Investment Symposium later this month — with our partners TripleTree, Intermountain Healthcare and the Marwood Group — we’ve wrestled with what subjects would bring the most value to attendees. It quickly became apparent that the population health market (PHM) can’t be ignored. Our hope is to provide insights that cut through the market buzz (some might call it a “marketing roar” in this case) and help investors and vendors understand the needs of providers, and where to best leverage their resources.
The healthcare industry sits in various stages of adopting population health tools, with many providers feeling like their “training wheels are coming off” while others haven’t bought the bike yet. KLAS convened a group of providers and vendors in 2016 for our Keystone Conference on Population Health to hammer out a solid definition of what a population health tool should look like.
The conference — and subsequent white paper — broke down the core competencies of a population health solution. Ideally, a PHM tool should have the following functionalities:
- Care Coordination / Health Improvement
- Administrative / Financial
- Patient Engagement
- Clinician Engagement
Now there’s obviously a lot to each of these six “verticals,” as they’re called in the white paper, and I would invite you to read the white paper to get the full picture. Historically when KLAS has talked about population health, we haven’t put so much focus on the need for clinician engagement. The need to drive physician adoption of PHM became clear last year when KLAS convened the conference.
So, what is being done to drive physician adoption of these tools?
To begin with, vendors need to design tools that keep clinician engagement in mind. The Keystone 2016 attendees strongly emphasized that even basic PHM tools would ideally include:
- Single sign-on integration
- Integration/ability for a care provider working in the population health tool to efficiently take action in the EMR
- Integration/presentation of care gaps to providers within the provider (EMR) workflow.
- Ability to integrate with multiple EMR platforms
- Ability to track clinician usage and activity
For provider organizations to drive deep adoption among clinicians, these basic functionalities must at least exist in a given tool. Ideally, PHM solutions should look beyond these core capabilities and seek to anticipate the future needs of providers. Luckily, in that same conference, providers gave some insight into the advanced features they’d love to see PHM tools provide:
- Timely integration of PHM tool data and alerts displayed within the EMR workflow, and stored within the EMR.
- API-based (FHIR or other API) integration with EMR solutions
- Presentation of care gaps to providers within the provider workflow with the ability to act within the provider workflow.
Finding tools that check all these boxes (as well as excel in the other 5 verticals outlined in the white paper) may seem like a pipe dream, but we feel that the industry is headed in the right direction. And as we move down the path, advancements such as these will help organizations to not only implement patient-centric population health strategies, but drive deep adoption among their end-users.
Thankfully, KLAS isn’t the only organization looking to identify and provide clarity to the issues of Population Health. TripleTree, one of the partners of the upcoming KLAS Investment Symposium, has also recently published some research in this area. While their framework defining what makes a PHM tool varies slightly from ours, we hope that our readers will take the opportunity to hear what they have to say as well.
Ultimately, KLAS and TripleTree agree that the industry is at a turning point in regard to population health and are excited to see where the future takes PHM. From simple data aggregation to deep patient and clinician engagement, we face a long road to full adoption. Hopefully, with data-driven decisions, that road won’t have any more bumps than necessary.
[This piece was written by Jared Jeffery, Brand Manager, KLAS. To follow KLAS on Twitter, click here.]