Hospitals sticking with population health despite ACA uncertainty
- Eight in 10 hospitals say they are continuing to pursue a population health management (PHM) strategy despite uncertainty over the future of the Affordable Care Act, a new Health Catalyst survey shows.
- Nearly 70% of respondents said PHM is “very important” to their healthcare delivery strategy for the next two years, while less than 3% rated it of no importance.
- Despite support for PHM, few organizations have taken on risk-based contracts that penalize them if they fail to meet goals such as improving their patient population’s health.
When asked how soon they expect to have more than 30% of their patients covered by risk-based contracts, just 13% of respondents said they have achieved that level of risk. Thirty-seven percent said they could that threshold in three to five years, while 14% guessed it would take six to 10 years.
Key barriers to launching a PHM program include financial barriers (37%), access to high-quality data and analytics (17%), care model issues (16%), leadership and governance issues (12%) and risk-evaluation issues (9%).
“The big picture takeaway from this survey is that healthcare executives view the move to value-based care as inevitable, regardless of the current political situation, and population health management is seen as critical to their success in transitioning to the new reimbursement structure,” Marie Dunn, VP of population health strategy for Health Catalyst, said in a statement.
Driving growth in PHM are changes mandated by the ACA, the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program and the shift to patient-centered care. As hospitals transition to the new payment models, many are forming partnerships across sectors and using technology to advance population health.
“The traditional ‘silos’ of medical, behavioral health and social services can’t meet the needs of our population alone,” Jim Hickman, CEO of California-based Better Health East Bay, part of Sutter Health, told Healthcare Dive last November. “Partnerships, enabled by technology and amplified by data sharing, are the first step in changing the way we deliver care.”
Better Health partners with a local medical center to identify hot spots in the community where health needs are high and access and services are poor.
The survey findings come on the heels of a study by Signify Research that predicted the size of the market for PHM solutions in the U.S. and Canada will grow from 135 million individuals in 2016 to 245 million in 2021, an increase of 80%.
In 2015, the U.S. PHM market was about $8.5 billion, or 77% of the global space, according to India-based MarketsandMarkets. At a compound annual growth rate of 23.2%, the global market could reach $31.6 billion by 2020.