Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Another Large Scale Research Study Confirms the Value of the Approach of Population Health Management

And here's another study, this time published in JAMA about Kaiser in Northern California that found that the following five components resulted in an increase of population-based blood pressure control

1. "Registry" (which the Disease Management Care Blog says is really a stand-alone database that is outside of the electronic health record);

2. "Control Rates" (which the DMCB figures is really an updated "dashboard" that displays key metrics to administrators and docs that provides feedback and helps keep everyone on the same page);

3. "Guideline" (in reality, it was a campaign to gain provider buy-in consisting of emails, publications, pocket cards, conferences, lectures and decision support);

4. "Medical assistant" follow-up operating under protocol to adjust medications (a.k.a population-based care management)

5. "Single" pill treatment (in other words, keep it simple by using pharmaceuticals that are combined in a single once a day prescription pill).

DMCB readers will not be surprised to know that the registry showed a progressive improvement in BP control (defined as less than 140/90 with the usual HEDIS® caveats) from 43.6% in 2001 to 80.4% in 2009.  Because everyone with hypertension at Kaiser was in the registry, there is no internal comparison group.  However, national and northern California HEDIS® rates for blood pressure control ranged from 55.4% to 69.4%.

While the results are 1) not necessarily generalizable outside of integrated systems like Kaiser (so we don't know for sure that this would work in a network of primary care clinics in Idaho), and 2) may have been influenced by an influx of patients with mild and easy-to-treat hypertension during the campaign), the DMCB is impressed

An 80% control rate for hypertension is damn good

The DMCB also figures that each of the interventions above are mutually supportive and even synergistic.  The whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.

How to translate this kind of success to networks of independent practices?  The answer, says the DMCB, is population health management: sponsored programs that can be owned by an insurer or a provider network that synergistically identify a population, maintain a data base, create a virtuous cycle of measurement and adjustment, get the doctors on board, deploy care managers and are smart about the pharmacy benefit.

If your a PHM service provider, vendor, consultant or stakeholder, the DMCB suggests this is one of those research papers you should bookmark, quote and aspire to.

Image from Wikipedia

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