PCPCC Report Supports Primary Care’s Use of HIT

Date: 

11/14/2013

In their recently published report called Managing Populations, Maximizing Technology: Population Health Management in the Medical Neighborhood, the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC) supports primary care clinicians’ “efforts to adopt a population health approach that leverages health IT solutions.” The report offers insight on “health IT—enabled population health management that is built on a foundation of the patient-centered medical home (PCMH), and further extends into the medical neighborhood.” This medical neighborhood, which connects primary care practices to hospitals, home health agencies, mental health providers, and community wellness and safe living organizations, will only be successful if health IT is widely adopted. Indeed, David B. Nash, MD, MBA, Founding Dean of the Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson School of Population Health and member of the reports review committee says “Health IT offers an essential infrastructure and solutions for population health management that can be adopted incrementally over time, and providers continue on a path of quality improvement and primary care transformation.”

Moreover, the report provides health IT tools incorporated in the five key attributes of PCMH and the medical neighborhood and a recommended top 10 list health IT-based population health management tools such as electronic health records, patient registries and health information exchange, to name a few. Also in the report are case studies of population health management from a variety of practices such as Twin City Pediatrics of Winston Salem, NC. These cases confirm “population health management technology is a prerequisite for primary care practices that want to identify health trends in their communities, exchange information across organizations, coordinate care as patients transition between providers, and deliver secure communications between providers and their patients,” according to Richard Hodach, MD, a member of the publication’s review committee and Chief Medical Officer of Phytel, a population health management company. This population health approach will also help accountable care organizations (ACOs) with managing financial risk, improving quality of care, and reducing costs.

Despite increased efforts to adopt health IT, there is still a lag in implementing this population health management approach. Outside the United States, “50 to 90 percent of doctors in developed countries routinely use advanced health IT tools, such as computerized alerts, reminder systems to notify patients about preventive or follow-up care, and prompts to provide patients with test results.” Conversely, in the United States, “only one in four [doctors has] such a system, and 40 percent or more [report] they have neither a manual nor electronic system for such tasks.” Indeed this report reveals barriers to using “innovative tools and technologies.” However, it also offers “a realistic assessment of the current state of population health management, and its implications for payment reform, workforce education and training, patient engagement, and the health IT industry” and states that there are plenty of opportunities for organizations to successfully manage population health.

Read the press release: http://gallery.mailchimp.com/dcfdd33cdd540f634734cf274/files/Population_Health_Guide_Conference_10_14_13.pdf

Access the report: http://www.pcpcc.org/resource/managing-populations-maximizing-technology