Public health highlights improving health through policies, but it’s population health that connects them to practices. Managing population health means enhancing health and care for targeted populations as well as reducing care costs. Providers and healthcare systems that improve their management strategies can also improve patient engagement strategies.

In this list, let’s take a look at 7 trends in both population health and patient engagement for 2021.

#1) Continued shift to value-based care and accurate documentation

The shift to value-based care requires providers to better understand the severity of illness of their global patient population. This leads to increased focus on accuracy in clinical documentation, a vital component in ensuring compliance and quality measures are met and in protecting valuable data.

When healthcare professionals provide accurate documentation, healthcare providers can focus more of their time and energy on their patients – not on paperwork.

#2) Increased focus on and use of data

When providers have accurate data to help them determine the risk level of diseases and conditions, they can better develop proactive plans that manage those concerns. That means providing patients with plans before they arrive to the ER.
doctor with data
Such plans include a focus on prevention in addition to a focus on treatment. That added dimension of care allows providers to deliver more personalized treatments and to predict future health concerns.

#3) Increased focus on clinical abstraction

Determining how different segments of patient population respond to various treatments is vital in understanding patient demographics and in identifying trends.
Increasing focus on clinical abstraction allows providers to be more productive and gives them more time with patients. It also supports healthcare organizations by amping up the quality of patient care, maintaining organizational efficiency, and boosting revenue.

#4) Leverage of data in decision making

Providers need accessible and effective options to leverage data in order to make decisions for patients and their communities. Most of them have unique data sets within various systems, but adoption of tools such as Tableau and Power BI can provide them with the ability to combine data in disparate systems.
When systems are familiar with the power of leveraging data, “how it will impact the patient experience today, and how it will shape interactions and outcomes for generations to come,” then they are more prepared to “create more meaningful policy, improve patient outcomes, and educate our communities about the overall future of health and disease.”

#5) Innovations in wearable technologies 

Interest in tools and innovations to obtain data without relying on claims data – such as wearable technologies that provide data in real time – is exploding. Data from wearable technologies can help prevent adverse episodes such as heart attacks and strokes and can provide valuable feedback for health concerns such as blood disorders, mental health conditions, spinal cord injuries, and many others.

wearable device

As innovations continue, these devices “could advance health informatics, lead to fundamental changes of how healthcare is provided, and help to reform underfunded and overstretched healthcare systems.”

#6) Reinforced security in data collection

Providers are seeking ways to ensure data collected from new technologies is secure. For instance, they know wearable technologies can help improve outcomes, but they are searching for ways to get that data without security breaches.

Doing so will not only protect patient confidentiality but will also enhance the devices’ usability. How that data is protected must be “evaluated based on the stringent HIPAA principles for information privacy and security.”

#7)  Enhanced system interoperability 

Patients may see providers across multiple health systems that use different electronic health records. The ability to see and understand patients’ true and complete stories is limited by systems that are designed to keep data in and not share across platforms.

New regulations like the 21st Century Cures Act and Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources (FHIR) are driving vendors to find ways to be more receptive of data sharing. With enhanced interoperability, we’ll see the continued move toward “every system, device, organization and person having instantaneous access to the data they need, when they need it.”

doctor talking with patient

At Harmony Healthcare, we deliver expert consultants within reimbursement to providers of all sizes on a national basis and across all care settings.

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