Even though healthcare spending in the United States is greater than in any other country in the world, our healthcare outcomes do not correspond to these costs. Americans are becoming unhealthier regardless of the healthcare dollars spent. One goal of population health management is to reverse this trend.
Population health management focuses on a defined population that is managed across the health continuum. The goal is to improve health and well-being while decreasing healthcare costs. Population health has a more holistic approach to care than traditional health management and looks at the emotional, physical, social, financial and safety issues of members to ensure complete and best possible care of a patient.
Currently our healthcare system is based on individual health models with the focus on a disease and is usually fee-for-service based. This fee-for-service model promotes a volume-driven healthcare system. Population health, on the other hand, shifts the focus from a disease-oriented state to prevention and health promotion. Population health management seeks to improve the health outcomes of a group of individuals by monitoring and identifying themes and individual patients within the group.
Better data is a crucial part of population health management (see our article about using claims data to improve population health management.). With increased technology, for example, diabetics can be contacted for appointment reminders when they have not been seen in the past six months, or are at high risk for neuropathy or vision complication. With data analytics and strategic analysis, we can identify the healthcare risks of your population and support you in developing an effective health and well-being program to help your employees live healthier lives.
As the primary health insurance provider to employees, employers need to look at the total cost of employee illnesses — not only medical and pharmaceutical costs, but also those related to workers’ compensation, short-term disability, turnover and absenteeism. The cost of employees who are on the job but not fully functioning because of illnesses/injuries (neck and back pain, arthritis, migraines, depression, and diabetes) can be very costly as well. For example, common conditions such as neck and/or back pain represent fewer direct costs than the high expense diseases such as cancer and heart disease but they represent higher indirect costs because they are so prevalent. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), productivity losses linked to employees who miss work cost employers $225.8 billion, or $1,685 per employee, each year.
Population health management benefits employers to ensure their employees are receiving the right care at the right time with the right provider. This reduces duplicate services and medical claims costs in the short- and long-term. If we are able to improve the health of your employees — help them stay healthy, and learn to live well with chronic conditions — there will be a reduction in expensive medical care, and pharmaceutical costs and many other expenses.
For more information about population health management or other employee wellness issues, please contact us.
Risk management and human resources are traditionally two different job functions, and the people in these areas have rarely crossed paths — but that is changing.
Why are these people starting to work together more frequently?
Foth Companies, headquartered in Green Bay, Wis., understands the link between the company’s success and the well-being of its employees. Implementing a wellness program called “Workin’ Well” featuring health risk assessments (HRAs) is one way the company is demonstrating its commitment to employees.
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