Participants at the Keystone Summit diligently vetted every detail of the proposed population health framework. One visiting provider executive, who was a bit uncertain of the gathering’s benefit at the start, approached me mid-day and enthusiastically told me, “This is really great dialogue; I think the output of this conference will be very beneficial.” I have to agree with him!
You could, very loosely, compare the summit to the Continental Congress in 1787 deliberating on the constitution of the United States. There was plenty of opinion — at times conflicting — and yet shared interest in coming to meaningful agreement on a “constitution” of sorts, outlining the direction for population health.
Many IT products out there claim to provide population health tools, yet without defining what constitutes either a partial or full population health management (PHM) tool, anything could qualify. Perhaps no area is more in need of definition as is patient engagement.
One of the most critical (and yet most challenging) elements in meaningful health improvement is engagement from each of us as individuals. However, engaging in preventative activities and/or necessary care in any measurable way is challenging.
For most providers and vendors, the first foray into patient engagement has been through attempts at creating patient portals. The discussion at the Keystone Summit didn’t question the benefits or need for patient portals, instead focusing on the content of such medium and what information shared via portals could be effectively utilized.
To that end, the discussion and outcome related to patient engagement sought to create safe and secure ways for care givers and potential patients to share.
Providers and vendors want to have effective, efficient and user-friendly tools for the following:
- Sending reminders;
- Setting up appointments;
- Delivery of patient education;
- Gathering data on specific patient needs;
- Follow up/analytics tools to improve efforts.
Now, with at least a preliminary definition, the industry can better judge our progress towards real and meaningful engagement between patients and providers. The ‘congress’ held at the Keystone Summit put forward a constitution by which we can judge our actions and move forward.
Certainly subject to amendments as we move forward, the Keystone Summit White Paper represents a great start to better defining what population health should look like.
This piece is the final installment in a six-part blog series on population health produced by KLAS. The author, Bob Cash, is Vice President of Provider Relations at KLAS Research, having previously held an administrative role with Intermountain Healthcare. For more information about KLAS, click here. To follow KLAS on Twitter, click here.]