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Barriers to population health management tech platforms

Due to the ever-changing regulatory landscape and the focus on managing the health of populations, IT vendors have taken several different approaches when it comes to population health management technology platforms, according to an article by the Cincinnati Business Courier.

Even EHR vendors are developing their own population health management modules and although some IT vendors are creating EHR agnostic population health management technologies, others have created niche solutions, the article said, which complicates the others have created niche solutions that complicate the flow and sharing of data, the article said.

Here are some population health management technology issues that create barriers to population health management and that healthcare organizations should keep in mind:

Workflow with the EHR

Many population health management technologies in the market today exist as separate modules outside the EHR. This often results in a disjointed workflow because it requires a second sign-on and a different user interface, the article said. It also often impedes training and slows adoption efforts within the organization.

Lack of standardization of health data

In healthcare, data that is aggregated across different systems often is not standardized and the vocabulary and formulas for calculation are also different, the article said. Therefore, the same data elements don’t mean the same thing in many cases.

Data blocking

Although there have been government mandates to free health data and stop data blocking, it still happens. Vendors, health information exchanges, healthcare organizations and individual providers all claim ownership of data, the article said. This means that liberating this data will be cumbersome and costly.

Inaccurate patient matching

Matching patient information accurately and efficiently while reducing the creation of duplicate records  is a technological challenge that health IT experts have been trying to solve for a while. Solving this problem becomes even more important when exchanging data between different systems while managing a patient population that spans a care network greater than a single healthcare organization, the article said.

Multiple patient portals

Patients should be able to access their health records through a single point of access. However, that is not the case today because different systems and EHRs all have their own patient portal, the article said. For example, there may be a separate portal for primary care, inpatient and billing which creates a confusing interface for patients.

Evolving telemedicine strategies

Telemedicine is still being defined in healthcare and several key points need to be identified first, according to the article:

  • Supported services;
  • Scheduling of and access to care provider services;
  • Technical infrastructure requirements; and
  • Reimbursement models for virtual consultants.

Should a healthcare organization want to implement a truly successful population health management program, these challenges will need to be overcome.