What if a hospital CIO could take the lead role in making population health management successful? Not through implementing some package, but by being the thought leader and delivering far more than a dashboard and analytics.
What would thought leadership around population health look like? One way to answer the question is by arriving at the fork in the road and taking the road less traveled. The focus of hospitals trying to implement population health management is all around the data. What data? The data they have on the patient. And just what data is that? It is the data about a patient centered on the time they were an inpatient.
So here we go again. We are trying to manage the health of a population, and in doing so, we are limiting our ability to do it in two ways:
- The patients: the data is primarily from inpatients. Not outpatients, discharged patients, former patients, or prospective patients.
- The vast majority of the data is captured from the inpatient visit. No visit, no data. For a one-week visit, 51 weeks of data isn’t available.
And based on this snapshot of data that uses a fraction of a year’s worth of information, about a fraction of the population, hospitals are trying to manage the health of the population.
So where does that leave the CIO and what are the opportunities for that individual to lead? What if there was a way to capture data for 52 weeks and to capture it for all of the population, or at least a far bigger chunk than just the inpatients?
There is. Make me care.
Make me, as the patient and as a member of the population, care that your hospital is trying to manage and improve my health.
Make every task about improving population health subservient to the task of making me care about what you are doing for me.
Design it so that it captures my interest and so that it is as easy as an app. The app makers have done that — why can’t the hospitals? I use apps because I am interested in recording and managing my health. This is a solo, one-way activity witnessed between me and my app.
Is anything preventing CIOs from making it two-way? Is there anything preventing them from designing a two-way process that includes every week of the year and makes it available to everyone, not just the inpatients?
Couldn’t the hospital design a system that is two-way — used by patients and their physicians — and that allowed patients to enter data about:
- Whether I am taking my medications
- Side effects of those medications
- Lab results
- Therapy results
- Pulse and blood pressure
This way, people — patients — within the population can track and report data about their health. This way, instead of having all of the data over a few days about a handful of people who have a given disease, the hospital has a way to obtain more data about more people over a longer period of time.
As an added benefit, this same approach could be used to reduce readmissions.
And all that has to happen to make this viable is to make me care about what you have made available to me.