2017 AHRMM Cost, Quality, and Outcomes (CQO) Report on Population Health Management
Most of us have heard the term “population health” but is it simply a healthcare buzzword or a program that can truly drive better costs, quality, and outcomes? AHRMM assembled a task force comprised of experts in the fields of healthcare supply chain, finance, and value analysis to examine the current population health management landscape in order to determine what impact these programs are having on the physical and behavioral health of people and the financial health of hospitals, health systems, and other health-related community organizations.
The Task Force reached out to the AHRMM community to identify healthcare organizations that have successfully implemented population health management programs, and solicited their insights on best practices for success. Based on their research, the group developed several guiding principles for others to employ when implementing their own population health management initiatives. They are as follows:
Supply chain is central to effective population health management: Supply chain must play a central role in population health because it is the critical link that ties together all of the various parties in the continuum of care: clinicians, suppliers, distributors, and so forth. It is also a primary source of data and analytics on which many population health management programs are measured.
Supply chain develops a solid business case: Because population health management initiatives require the investment of resources – people, infrastructures, technology – initiatives must be built upon a strong business case that demonstrates to the C-suite how the approach or plan delivers value in terms of lower costs, better patient care quality, measurable improvements in outcomes, greater revenue capture – or a combination of these benefits.
Cross-functional collaboration drives improved results in care and cost: Successful population health management programs employ a holistic approach to health promotion and patient care, where healthcare providers and other stakeholders, internal and external, are working together to improve the health of a defined population and the quality of healthcare in the community. Therefore, supply chain participating in cross-functional collaboration is critical. The focus is on the community, individuals, and families within the community, as well as the patients that require healthcare services to diagnose, treat, and provide supportive care. Population health shifts the focus from sickness care and the provider, to holistic care and the individual and population served.
High-performing supply chain organizations enable a balance between cost and quality: In today’s environment of value versus volume, successful population health management programs must balance cost and quality to deliver true value to a healthcare organization and its consumers/patients.
Supply chain leverages supporting technologies effectively: Technology is key to implementing, managing, and sustaining most population health management programs where information sharing and communication between various parties is critical to improving the health of a population. While some hospitals and health systems are developing solutions internally, others are leveraging third party solutions providers with expertise in this area.
Supply chain enables data driven decisions: Many population health management programs require key stakeholders to change processes, behaviors, practices, and products. Those leading these initiatives must be armed with robust, objective, and scientifically grounded data and evidence that can be used to educate stakeholders on the need for change and secure their support for these changes.
Supply chain strategy aligns to IDN strategy: A sustainable and scalable strategy has to align to an integrated delivery network’s (IDN) overall strategy. The business of healthcare and the delivery of care are rapidly evolving. Population health management initiatives that are implemented today must be designed to be sustainable and scalable over time – addressing not just current patient and consumer needs, but anticipated needs for the future.
In summary, supply chain must drive improved results in care and cost.
“At times, as clinicians, we throw in the whole kitchen sink to fix a problem, especially if we have to impact it as quickly as possible,” said Nattie Leger, MSN, RN, LSSBB, Director of Nursing Pursuit of Value at Ochsner Health System. “But in population health management there is no quick fix. Embracing a focused approach on the Triple Aim; Cost, Quality, and Outcomes with change management is a must. Determine if a certain intervention adds value then create an implementation strategy. Also, we need to build a business case for whatever we want to implement and not be short sighted – such as understanding both cost avoidance and hard costs, plus short term and long term impacts.”
Because the definition of population health management is so broad and encompasses a wide range of programs, from bundled payments to community wellness, the task force worked to identify case studies that spanned six care domains, which are presented in this report. Each of these examples demonstrates the invaluable role that supply chain professionals play in this emerging care model.
We contribute this report to generate dialogue within the AHRMM community and the broader healthcare field on emerging trends in population health management, encourage supply chain leaders to assume an active role in these initiatives, and provide healthcare organizations valuable knowledge and best practices that they can use in the development of their own programs.