Monthly Archives: October 2014

Top 3 Myths About Population Health Management Data

Post by Bill Howard

VP of Solution Architecture, Caradigm

According to this recent survey of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) reported in a Healthcare IT News article, an astounding 88 percent report significant obstacles in integrating data from disparate sources and 83 percent say they have a hard time fitting analytics tools into their workflows. Keith J. Figlioli, Premier’s senior vice president of healthcare informatics says that the survey results suggest interoperability is a “pervasive problem among ACOs, and it could stymie the long-term vision for ACO cost and quality improvements if not addressed.” The cost of interoperability was cited as a factor preventing interoperability for many organizations.

The survey responses above are significant in that nearly all ACOs are unnecessarily struggling with core capabilities of population health that will hinder their ability to succeed as ACOs. The responses also reveal that there are misconceptions about population health data that need to be cleared up.

Myth #1: A lack of interoperability prevents the aggregation of data

Even if your hospital network uses dozens of non-interoperable systems to store clinical, claims, financial and other data, that does not prevent you from obtaining a single source of “truth.” Enterprise population health solutions include a data aggregation platform and specialized team that can aggregate and normalize all data from across your community. Closed-system vendors as well as point pop health solution providers struggle with this requirement because they don’t have the data aggregation domain expertise nor enterprise platform infrastructure to bridge the gap between non-interoperable systems.

Myth #2: The cost of interoperability is prohibitive

As described above, interoperability can be achieved through an enterprise data aggregation platform, however, costs should not be prohibitive. Costs and implementation complexity are controlled by leveraging standards, pre-built interface connectors, repeatable mapping and normalization processes, along with options for cloud-based deployments. Compared to the amount of revenue at risk for a typical ACO, interoperability has high ROI potential. Costs can be much higher with solution providers that do not have data management domain expertise and infrastructure because they cannot efficiently connect non-interoperable systems.

Myth #3: Analytics cannot be easily surfaced in workflows

Surfacing analytics at the point-of-care is one of the core value propositions of population health management. Workflow solution vendors often have trouble meeting this requirement because they don’t provide the analytics to integrate into a complete solution set. Many analytics vendors often cannot surface results at the point of care because they don’t integrate with EMRs or offer workflow solutions.  Enterprise population health vendors are able to deliver data and analytics at the point-of-care in near-real time because they provide a data platform, analytics engine and apps designed to work together.

To learn more about how Caradigm can help with your population health initiatives, check out the resources page on our website at

How Population Health Management is Changing CFO Perspectives

Post by Matt Wood

Chief Financial Officer, Caradigm

As healthcare moves from fee-for-service to pay-for-performance, population health management is changing how Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) of health systems approach their roles. Population health aligns quality with revenue, which then aligns the goals of CFOs with Chief Medical Officers (CMO) and Chief Quality Officers (CQO) more closely than ever before. Mark Bogen, CFO and senior vice president of finance of South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside, N.Y. describes the shift for CFOs in this recent Becker’s Hospital Review article:

“I think the biggest thing is CFOs…they’re going to have to continue to get out of their comfort zone with the traditional financial indicators that predict revenue, that predict cash flow, and be more aware of where we’re headed, how many lives are we covering and the utilization and the outcomes attached to the clinical pathways that we’re allowing access to,” he says. “I know that’s a tough thing to get used to, but quality and outcomes are where it’s at, so you’ve got to be in that loop.”  

Population health presents an opportunity for CFOs to increase margins through lower costs, shared savings and bundled payment programs, and increase revenue through the addition of other risk-based agreements. To realize those benefits, CFOs should understand the key requirements of population health solutions as much as the CMO and CQO and participate in the evaluation process as a key stakeholder. For population health to successfully increase margins and revenue, providers need solutions that can:

1) Aggregate and normalize all data (e.g, clinical, claims, financial) across all systems.

2) Apply analytics to that data to stratify populations down to an actionable number of patients with the highest ROI.

3) Surface data and analytics at the point-of care in near real-time to guide decisions and improve productivity.

Without these capabilities, investments in population health solutions run the risk of underperforming on quality improvement and therefore, not delivering ROI. As the internal subject matter expert on ROI and the owner of financial performance, CFOs should play an important role in population health as it can help pave a stronger financial path for their organizations. I believe that having more stakeholders aligned around quality is the first step to drive better patient outcomes, so I look forward to having more conversations with CFOs about population health.

What is Population Health Management Really About?

Post by Neal Singh

Chief Executive Officer, Caradigm

Population health management is still such a new concept that I often get asked the question, “what is pop health really about?” It’s a question that I enjoy having discussions about because it helps put into perspective where healthcare is today and why it needs to take a different path in the future.

Healthcare has historically been transactional. A sick patient visits a physician when they need care, receives that care and the physician gets paid for the transaction. Physicians get paid every time they see patients, whether patients get healthier or not. Electronic Medical Record systems (EMRs) also emerged to facilitate this type of episodic care. However, the downside of transactional healthcare is that it’s reactive and not coordinated, which leads to lower quality of care and higher costs. The passing of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 and the shift in reimbursement models to value-based care have challenged the transactional model.  

Hospital networks are now incentivized to make a population of patients healthier under risk-bearing financial arrangements. By aligning the economic incentives for care delivery and utilization among the patient, provider and payer, population health seeks to improve quality and reduce costs through proactive and coordinated care. New healthcare information technology has emerged to enable population health, and that’s what Caradigm delivers in four key capabilities: 1) Data Control 2) Healthcare Analytics 3) Care Coordination and Management 4) Wellness and Patient Engagement.

Here’s an example of the power of population health. Imagine a large provider with a total population of 1.6 million patients, 77,000 of whom are diabetics. Whereas many population health solutions can predict which 55,000 of those 77,000 diabetics are going to incur the highest costs next year, Caradigm® Risk Management powered by LexisNexis with MEDai Science can identify which patients should be prioritized because of their cost savings potential based on a number of factors including clinical risk, inpatient and emergency room visit risk, forecasted costs, patient motivation, and movers risk (i.e. the risk of transitioning to high risk over the next 12 months). In the case of this particular population, there are 900 patients who will be highly impacted by intervention and management and yield a significant cost savings.  That’s meaningful intelligence that helps large providers with constrained resources know where to take action today.

As exciting as that intelligence is, it’s just one part of the population health story. The story continues in better managing the care of those 900 patients and empowering them to take greater responsibility for their own care, but we’ll save those discussions for another time.

I am passionate about population health because it’s next-generation healthcare that benefits everyone – patients, clinicians, providers and payers. Leading healthcare organizations are already executing on it today, which will help them be the healthcare leaders of tomorrow. To learn more, please check out the resources page on our website at



Why Care Managers Should Be Excited About Population Health Management

Post by Vicki Harter, BA, RRT

Vice President, Care Transformation

Patient care is part science (i.e. tests, treatment) and part art (i.e. communication, motivation, prioritization). Today, effective population health solutions can link the science and the art in a game-changing way that will help care managers deliver better care, more efficiently.

Care managers are asked to do a lot. The typical care manager at a large hospital network has a full case load, which limits the ability to deliver quality care across a population. The reality is that we’re not going to have enough care managers to care for the growing number of patients, so we have to become more efficient. We also need to empower motivated patients to manage their own care.

Caradigm® Care Management was developed in partnership with Geisinger Health Plan based on extensive observations of their care management team. Together, we came to the conclusion that what care managers needed most was to 1) have complete data and analytics in a single workspace and embedded into workflows and 2) automate routine processes. Here are just a few examples of how a care manager’s life can be made easier:

  • Task lists and interventions are automatically generated from assessment responses that list the top interventions needed to get the highest risk patients to a better place and assure consistent work practice.
  • Complete medication histories can be brought into single patient views that display order history and fill history for easy review.
  • High risk patients can be tracked across the continuum through event-based alerts (e.g. admissions, discharges or blue tooth device alerts).
  • With a full 360 degree view of patients, care managers can see longitudinal data and patient responses over time, identify and address subtle changes and deliver patient centered care by incorporating patient personalized goals into care plans.
  • Patient workloads or specific tasks can be reallocated to other care managers or support staff, assuring “top of license” activity.
  • Best practices of care managers can be identified and then shared across the team.

This is exciting, transformational change. Care managers today are hunting down information from many systems and storing that information all over the place on sticky notes, notebooks, applications, and then must synthesize that into a care plan. Multiply that by 50, by 100, by 200 patients, and it’s challenging to do it efficiently. Caradigm’s population health management solutions are transforming care management, and I am thrilled to be part of the journey.

The Growing Complexity of Identity and Access Management

Post by Azam Husain

Senior Product Manager, Caradigm

Identity and access management (IAM) is getting harder. It used to be a single physician would view one record for one patient during one visit at one location, but now everything is multiplied. Healthcare providers are rapidly expanding their scope of influence by adding independent physicians, hospitals and other providers to their network. IAM is now a broader business challenge that not only affects security and compliance, but also patient safety, clinician satisfaction as well as IT resource utilization.

If anyone knows about the challenge of IAM, it’s Bobby Stokes, AVP Identity Management and Development Services of Hospital Corporation of America (HCA). HCA, recognized for security excellence, must share patient information securely and efficiently across 160+ hospitals, 1000 hospital affiliates, and 100,000+ users. Five percent of all U.S. inpatient admissions take place in a HCA facility. As Stokes said on last week’s webinar, “That’s an interesting mix of concerns.”   

Today, IAM is a balancing act. First, healthcare organizations have a responsibility to ensure the privacy of protected health information from internal and external threats. Inappropriate access to data has resulted in multiple data privacy violations recently (see here and here), and is an area that providers need to take greater control of. Second, data has to be easily available for clinicians to consume and comprehend. Clinician workflows can be streamlined by reducing the number of system log-ins and by providing patient context across those systems. Lastly, from a provisioning perspective, IT needs tools to manage the sheer volume of requests they are faced with. Without solutions that can automate provisioning processes, IT is forced to spend excessive amounts of time on user provisioning, which can also cause delays in clinician access.

If you missed last week’s webinar where Bobby Stokes talked about how HCA approaches identity and access management, then you can catch the recording here.

The Rise of Clinically Integrated Networks and Population Health Management

Post by Scott McLeod

Director of Product Marketing, Caradigm

A notable healthcare trend is the rapid rise of Clinically Integrated Networks (CINs) in accountable care. Children’s Health System of Texas just announced its new system structure as a clinically integrated pediatric health system. Ascension Health and CHE Trinity Health recently announced a clinical integration partnership that has the potential to reach three-quarters of patients in Michigan. EvergreenHealth also launched the first CIN in the Puget Sound region earlier this year.

The growth in CINs is being driven by the shift to value-based reimbursement. Payers and employers favor providers that can deliver high-quality care in an efficient manner, and clinical integration enables collaboration among independent providers to meet that requirement. These independent physicians, hospitals and other providers now share responsibility for the care of patients across the community, and must share patient information to fulfill that responsibility.

Enter population health management as a new solution to help with the coordination, collaboration, and measurement of quality among a community’s providers. Although CINs have typically invested in an electronic medical records system (EMRs), they are still unable to manage the health of populations because EMRs are usually designed for only single-patient interactions. Accountable care and value-based reimbursement demand systems that manage health across populations outside of episodic care in clinical settings. Organizations need comprehensive health histories and need information at the point-of-care to help make better clinical decisions.

As CINs mature and evolve, their story ultimately leads to population health management. To learn more about this topic, sign up for our whitepaper entitled ‘Clinically Integrated Networks and Population Health: Taking the Next Step’.