The population health management (PHM) industry is still in its adolescence, but further evolution is necessary and inevitable to take care delivery to the next level. By now, most have a sense of the value PHM can add and understand the macro steps needed for a successful population health initiative. The industry is good at identifying the sick in our populations and even predicting who will be sick in the future. The market is also good at developing guidelines and treatment plans to help manage chronic disease.
Where the industry falls short is the reach of our impact. Today, at a clinical level, we can affect some, but not all of the sick in our population. Although the industry is becoming good at chronic disease management, to broaden our reach, we need more sustainable approaches to manage disease. In fact, longer term, we should move to a personalized model of care that is more holistic including local options such as community resources, local agencies, and family support structures.
To take the next crucial steps, PHM will require even greater use of technology. Moreover, perhaps bigger than the technology angle, is the fact that we need to add consideration of the social factors related to health. The whole line of thinking related to the social determinants of health (SDOH) postulates that to have the greatest impact and drive the best clinical outcomes, we need to consider factors like access to care, education, income, employment, food insecurity, housing, among others.
The SDOH are not new, according to sources they were discussed and generally defined circa 2003 in a forum of the World Health Organization (WHO) Europe. However, even though discussion began more than a decade ago, these factors have yet to be fully integrated into common practice for clinical care.
At eQHealth, we offer not only the technology for PHM, eQSuite®, but also the services, eQCare®, to enhance care management including the tools and resources to integrate the SDOH into your traditional workflow. We took the stage at HIMSS17, in the Population Care Management Knowledge Center, to discuss how the SDOH will enhance PHM and drive measurable impact. Click here to view the video.