One of the most important ways that data can improve healthcare and patient outcomes is by leading us to a greater understanding of population health. According to experts at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University “we improve the quality of care and outcomes while managing costs for a defined group of people” when the information extracted from population health is understood.
In a recent webinar presented by Prognos titled, Hidden in Plain Sight: Leveraging the Power of Lab Data in Population Health, HGS’s Virginia Gurley, MD, MPH, Sr. Consulting Physician, weighs in on this topic and argues that the key to developing population health initiatives lay in the innovative use of lab data and analytics.
Gurley’s perspective is grounded in the need to meet the goals of the Triple Aim, a framework by the Institute for Healthcare Improvement. The framework outlines an approach to optimizing health system performance focusing on three dimensions. These dimensions include improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction), improving the health of populations, and reducing the per capita cost of health care.
Webinar attendees learned how lab results can fill in data gaps and guide outreach to improve clinical and financial outcomes and how payers have used lab data to better manage members. Additionally, they learned to recognize the challenges associated with using clinical lab data for population health initiatives.
“Population health management (PHM) outreach can identify patterns of risk and avoid high-cost health events, Gurley noted. “However, PHM campaign effectiveness depends on a strategy that includes stratification to accurately identify and address high-risk populations.”