Category: Thought Leadership
September 28 2016
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Payer and provider roles are blending as business models shift to a risk-based landscape, and the responsibility to manage costs and outcomes increasingly rests on the shoulders of providers. In response, health systems are deploying a range of strategies:

  • Driving growth through acquisition of provider practices and other health systems
  • Reducing care delivery costs to maintain profitability with respect to Medicare payments
  • Tightly managing referral networks to minimize leakage
  • Expanding affiliate strategies to create clinical integration across all venues of care
  • Accepting an increasing number of partial- and full-risk contracts

The implementation of electronic health records (EHRs) is undoubtedly an essential milestone in the digitization of health care, but the journey toward value-based care is only beginning. Organizations are realizing that an EHR alone will not suffice as they transition to a risk-based model. EHRs have historically been designed to optimize the workflow of individual encounters between patients and providers and, as such, they aren’t equipped to manage risk or prioritize cohorts of patients within a risk pool.

Modern health systems require a network of care stretching beyond traditional operational boundaries. Not surprisingly, the thriving landscape of mergers and acquisitions has led to an increased divergence in the technology portfolio, which often is a slew of legacy and niche systems that require degrees of integration or replacement.

Add to that environment the introduction of new markets, and the need exists for an innovative breed of systems to operate most efficiently. Health care providers bearing additional risk are much better equipped to function in these new systems by utilizing a comprehensive picture of patients and populations.

Shift from reactive care to proactive health

Population health management refers to the advancement of health care efficiencies by shifting from reactive care to proactive health with a focus on improving the health and care of the community.

As providers attempt to optimize health care delivery by stitching together disparate systems, clinicians are often faced with fragmented workflows stemming from incomplete and inconsistent information. Organizations find themselves in the unfortunate business of managing a complex web of interfaces, which comes with steep operating costs.

Within the context of health care, big data pertains not only to the collection of varied and voluminous sources of clinical, financial and operational data, but also to the processing of aggregated data with the intent of discovering critical and actionable insights. By combining the foundational clinical knowledge contained in the EHR with other sources of data across the care continuum in a format to which reasoning can be applied at scale, organizations become empowered to improve the quality of care and manage the rising costs of health care.

In response to this need, Cerner has developed a unified platform, HealtheIntentSM, that is capable of organizing and reasoning health information across all venues of health and care. This platform enables organizations to uniquely manage their populations across a network of providers, regardless of the portfolio of EHRs and other related clinical and financial systems.

A platform to transform data

HealtheIntent is a cloud-based service designed to leverage big data. Rather than being faced with prolonged replacement strategies, HealtheIntent permits rapid adoption of capabilities by providing organizations tools to connect existing systems and develop programs. Organizations can adopt capabilities at their own pace with minimal capital investment.

While it is advantageous for a health system to move toward a single EHR, that vision is not practical for a city or a state with multiple providers touching the health and care of a person. Nor is it viable for a newly acquired provider to replace its existing technology investment.

HealtheIntent is unique in providing a single source of truth. Data can be gathered from many data sources to support the management of individuals and entire populations, driving health and care across multiple venues. This process enables organizations to focus on using new technology to drive rapid change, rather than being immersed in the replacement of a legacy system or management of multiple point-to-point interfaces.

Looking to the future

As we look to the future, Cerner will continue to build additional population health management solutions and capabilities that meet the needs and objectives of organizations for today and tomorrow to aid in the health of both the business and delivery of health and care. The pipeline of ideas for which big data technologies can be applied, including those encompassing predictive analytics and data-driven workflows, will be limited only by our capacity and imagination.

Ryan Hamilton,Senior Vice President, Population Health

Ryan Hamilton Senior Vice President, Population Health Cerner Hospital


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