Monday, September 3, 2012

Another Endorsement of Population Health Management

While it's not an explicit endorsement of the population health management industry, it comes pretty darn close.

Writing in the New England Journal, David Asch and Kevin Volpp point to three market "signals" that are being missed by the traditional medical-industrial complex:

1. There is growing consensus that the doctors have it wrong: being healthy is not a merely a "biologic" process.  Rather, social circumstances, environmental influences and personal behavior account for the bulk of well being. 

2. While providers are being called to task on a host of specific process and outcome measures, communities and employers are more interested in and getting better at measuring overall health.

3. While there are short-term approaches to reducing waste and increasing efficiency in the health care system (like bundled payments or episodes of care), everyone agrees on the long-term solution: a healthier population.

Drs. Asch and Volpp predict health systems will transition from selling product-oriented sickness treatment "within their walls" to customer-oriented "health" delivery. They better, or they'll end up like bankrupt Eastman Kodak, which thought it was the film, not imaging, business

And the Disease Management Care Blog agrees. Look no further than this web site of an outsider business devoted to the very services described in this Journal article.  In fact, as far back as March of 2009, the DMCB described one PHM industry veteran's challenge to make America rank #1 in the world in an overarching, comprehensive and easy understood measure of health status.

It sounded like a good idea back then.  This timely Journal article reminds us it still is.

And the good news is that the PHM service providers are already working on it.

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