PHM Innovation Is The New Black


George Van Antwerp

By George Van Antwerp

 With all the talk about Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs), the adoption curve for the Care Continuum Alliance (CCA) model for Population Health Management (PHM) should move beyond the innovators in 2013 and begin to “Cross the Chasm.” I believe there are several preconditions that would set the stage for this to occur, for instance:

  1. Technology advances leading to the “Big Data” focus;
  2. The changing paradigm from fee-for-service to outcomes-based care;
  3. The realization of the role of the consumer led by the e-Patient movement, the idea of the Quantified Self, and the focus of large healthcare enterprises on being consumer centric; and
  4. The budget crisis that is driving employers and other payers to embrace PHM, wellness, and other initiatives that impact cost and productivity.

Of course, most companies are still in the infancy of designing systems to address this coordinated care model, which does not view the patient as a claim, but longitudinally aggregates demographical, psychosocial and claims data.  Additionally, training staff using Motivational Interviewing and integrating external staff into the virtual care team in partnership with the provider will continue to evolve as do our care delivery models.

Add to that mix the innovation happening in the Health 2.0 and health incubator space along with the efforts of big pharma to transform into disease management companies, and it can be overwhelming for an employer to select a partner. Not to say anything of how difficult it becomes for the consumer trying to make sense of our sick-care system.  For companies, standing still is essentially moving backwards.

To drive home the pace of change, let’s look at patient support tools for diabetes.  While several years ago you might have engaged a consumer in a limited fashion using static content on the web, direct mail, and nurses, you now have a great opportunity to leverage multiple new channels and technologies to engage them and drive better clinical outcomes.  Here are a few examples:

  • Mobile Apps:  There are hundreds of mobile apps out in the market for diabetes such as Glucose Buddy Pro, Bant, or Diabetes Tracker.  Most consumers are overwhelmed trying to figure how to choose the right one for them. They are looking to their physician for help as was recently discussed on Kevin MD’s blog.  There are also numerous tools, like Happtique, coming to market to help physicians to sort and select pre-screen apps to “prescribe” to their patients; and companies like Wellocracy to help consumers make sense of the digital market.
  • Communities:  There continues to be more and more research around the connected principles of how social media and your networks can help drive behavior (such as weight loss).  A recent CVS Caremark study looked at several studies from an adherence perspective to validate opportunities from a community perspective.  And, in diabetes, you have several very active communities such as dLife and Diabetic Connect.
  • Video:  We all know that patients learn in different ways.  For example, the “YouTube Generation” turns to video as their primary search tool.  In diabetes, the channels dLife TV and Diabetes Mine are becoming mainstream, as well as companies like the Joslin Diabetes Center.
  • Risk Assessment:  One of the hot discussion areas in today’s market is prevention and identification of at-risk patients.  There is a continuous stream of new tools out there to help with this.  I think the American Diabetes Association (ADA) has had a great web friendly tool for several years.
  • Twitter:  Another source of news and information for many people is Twitter.  And, there are many companies and people with the Diabetes tag in their profile.  For that, I ultimately found that I could just point to @AskManny’s list of people to follow.

And, I could go on and on discussing all the connected devices such as Welldoc, remote monitoring tools and SMS solutions like this one in India and several in the US.  The key points are:

  • Sustained engagement is multi-modal, complex, and dynamic.  It has to include an mHealth approach.
  • Data integration for risk assessment, monitoring, and segmentation is critical.
  • The market is changing so fast that your care team has to be able to help guide the patient through this maze of options.

George Van Antwerp has spoken at prior CCA events and blogs about healthcare at Enabling Healthy Decisions.  You can read his blog or follow him on Twitter @gvanantwerp

Guest Blog Post Disclaimer

CCA invites guest bloggers to post on Voice of Population Health Blog as a benefit for our members and the industry and to allow for exchange of ideas and information regarding population health.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within these guest posts are those of the author alone and/or of the company the author represents and do not represent those of the Care Continuum Alliance (CCA), its members, or the industry as a whole. CCA is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this guest post article. We accept no liability for any errors, omissions or representations. The copyright of this content belongs to the author(s) and any liability with regards to infringement of intellectual property rights remains with them.

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