Partnering for Better Population Health Management

Rene Letourneau, for HealthLeaders Media , May 13, 2014
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Reading Health will initially focus its population health management efforts on its own employees.

"The first thing we are going to do is look at the population of our own employees and use them really as a laboratory to hone our skills at managing populations by engaging primary care physicians more directly and incentivizing patients to participate in their own care," Jones says, noting that employees will receive an inducement to complete a health risk assessment, although it will not be mandatory.

Along with achieving employee buy-in for its new population health management strategy, Reading Health is also seeking to educate its physicians to encourage engagement.

"We have developed a clinically integrated network for the purpose of improving quality of care, managing the cost of care, and improving access to care," Matthews says. "We've integrated our independent physicians with our employed physicians and other ambulatory providers. … Our physicians know there are opportunities to provide better services by cooperating with each other and communicating better. They are on board and are excited by the opportunity."

Measuring success

Although it's too soon for any of these frontrunners to measure results, they all say they will be looking for expanded clinical best practices, enhanced IT capabilities, greater economies of scale, and improved patient outcomes at a lower cost for indications of success.

Jones and Matthews say they are "absolutely optimistic" that Reading Health will achieve its goals as part of AllSpire and expect to see more partnerships of this nature as the healthcare industry moves to more risk-based payment models.

"We think that these types of affiliations will become more commonplace as reimbursement structures change," Jones says.

Reprint HLR0514-7

This article appears in the May 2014 issue of HealthLeaders magazine.

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