The Popularization of Population Health: Enduring Traits & Current Challenges

Population Health is the latest topic talked about in every innovation and investor setting, yet it has been in the making for decades. Frameworks have been made publically available for years by thought leadership groups such as the Population Health Alliance (PHA). The primary reason population health has moved up higher on the national radar is that the umbrella term “population health” includes “value-based care.” Other groups such as the American Medical Group Association (AMGA) and the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative (PCPCC) have additionally contributed to the advancement of the underpinnings for the delivery of value-based care.

The enduring traits of population health management include: accountability for a defined population, intervening in partnership with the consumer and producing results in the form of measured outcomes tied to performance agreements. While great strides had been made by multiple stakeholders to advance population health in a fee-for-service environment, the current trend of aligning financial incentives for care delivery, versus consumer engagement and care coordination initiatives alone, substantially improves the likelihood that all stakeholders will work together toward value-based goals.

Common challenges in population health management have been highlighted over the years but authors in a recent articlepublished in the International Journal of Integrated Care summed up the major challenges we are facing today quite succinctly: governance models, engagement of the population served, payment models, and evaluation of what by its nature is a complex multifaceted set of interventions.

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