Healthcare providers to partner to share risk


Some 90 percent of healthcare leaders plan to pursue a population health strategy in order to adapt to the demands of Obamacare and nearly two-thirds (63 percent) are pursuing partnerships with other providers to share risk while improving population health.

These are two key findings of an independent survey by HealthLeaders Media, a division of HCPro, in collaboration with McKesson Corporation.

The survey found that features of the new focus on population health include new initiatives to improve accountability, prevention, and the management of chronic disease. The new focus is driven by healthcare reform-related performance incentive programs like the ACO model of care and readmissions reductions.

The survey findings suggest that population health management is more than an industry buzz-word, and provides new value-add opportunities for the changing healthcare delivery model.

“Facing payment reform and declining reimbursement, healthcare leaders are tasked with integrating disparate providers across the care continuum to create new levels of consumer value,” said Marion McGowan, executive vice president and chief population health officer at Lancaster (Pa.) General Health.

“A transformation of this magnitude is unprecedented. It requires new competencies such as sharing the financial risk of clinical care, forming unconventional partnerships with payers and physicians, leveraging intelligence technologies, and building new business models in accountable care.”

The survey resulted in a report, “Population Health Management: Steps to Risk Sharing and Data Analytics,” which highlights three key industry trends.

First, the shift to population health is evident, with three quarters of the represented organizations having already launched a program with this as its primary initiative.

Second, payers and providers alike will increasingly rely on clinical data to achieve performance targets, investing in technology with data analytics capabilities.

Third, organizations are recognizing the necessity of training to utilize these technologies effectively and improve efficiencies across the care continuum.

“Implementing a population health program is neither easy nor fast. And yet 68% of organizations reported that they were well positioned to be among the partners that a payer will contract with for population heath,” said Dr. Jonathan Niloff, vice president and executive medical director of population health for McKesson Corporation.

“Such optimism is a positive sign, though we know this effort requires significant organizational realignment as well as new programs, resources, and technology. However, the payoff can be significant.”

Other key findings of the report include the fact two-thirds of health systems (66 percent) intend to improve population health by becoming adept at data analytics; and one-third (32 percent) expect to focus their early or pilot population health efforts on a population defined by a chronic condition.   

population health, Obamacare, PPACA, Healthleaders Media