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How Do You Measure, Analyze and Share Data to Improve Population Health?

March 4, 2013

Consider obesity, an epidemic that is bringing on the early onset of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. Sure, diabetes is an individual patient issue. But by addressing it at the population level, health organizations can achieve a greater impact.

It’s not easy. Successful programs have to employ measurement and analysis and include enormous volumes of data from an ever widening variety of sources. Making data useful, parsing what is valuable from what is not, gaining an accurate view of the individual – and doing it all within the context of a population – is a daunting challenge, but one with great potential to change the paradigm.

Therefore, to achieve sustainable a system and essentially transform healthcare, government agencies, health organizations, practitioners and payers are becoming data driven.

This is where big data analytics comes into play. Big data solutions provide the opportunity to measure and act on population health by capturing and analyzing all types of data about an individual or segment of patients; disease types and the genomics, environmental factors and treatments that trigger healing or disease progression; and socio-economic factors that can influence health and wellness in a community.

Here are some of the ways a population care management system, built on a big data foundation can help provider and payer organizations:

  • Predict patients at risk for readmission or a bad outcome, alert providers at the bedside and identify changes in process
  • Understand what care programs lead to the best outcome for a type of patient and apply the same principals to other communities of patients
  • Identify which patients require intervention and mobilize the right resources to address it
  • Monitor vitals and contact patient for action prior to event occurrence like CHF
  • Predict cost impact of new treatments or outbreaks and create reimbursement programs to incentivize behavior

Measure and Act on Population Health

For example, the Premier healthcare alliance has compiled one of the largest clinical, financial, supply chain and operational comparative databases, with information on one in four discharged hospital patients in the United States. The database provides members with the detailed comparative clinical outcome measures, resource utilization information and transaction-level cost data they need to make informed strategic planning decisions that improve processes and outcomes.

Through one Premier performance improvement collaborative of more than 330 hospitals, more than 29,000 lives have been saved and healthcare spending has been reduced by almost $7 billion (USD). (View a presentation about the population health example, featuring Premier.)

How do you use data to improve the health of your patient population?

HIMSS13.PNGLet us know! Leave a comment below. or if you are attending HIMSS13, visit IBM booth #1841, Pedestal #5 to learn how healthcare organizations effectively manage, integrate, analyze and govern their data to deliver actionable insights, and measure and improve performance and outcomes. See demonstrations on ACO and quality measures, claims analysis and supply chain. See how reports can be extended to mobile devices and discuss entry points to build your health analytics strategy. Follow us on Twitter @IBMBigDataHLS – during HIMSS13 and after – for the lastest information that affects healthcare and life sciences organizations and practitioners. I look forward to meeting you at HIMSS.