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As healthcare continues to take center-stage in the United States, population health management gains more prominence as a term signifying the push to improve patient care. Commonly defined by the government as “the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group,” population management is often criticized for being too broad.

Nevertheless, the practice of population health management is best personified by the large-scale, digital transformation initiatives within the healthcare sector that aim to digitize and expand the accessibility of patient, clinical and financial data in the hopes that these efforts lead to better quality of care for the patient. In many ways, population health management is about understanding the health of a population, and instituting the people, processes and technology to improve and track the quality of care- while tying results back to the financial systems of the hospitals and clinics administering the care.

Since population health is, for the most part, about data, some unexpected benefits of this field are occurring:

689-BLOG-NUMBERS-1Increased Attention to Cybersecurity
According to a recent CSO story, annual cyber-crime costs could top six trillion dollars by 2021. Moreover, CSO is reporting that global ransomware damage may cost over five billion dollars by the end of 2017, alone. These risks are growing in importance to CIOs within healthcare and leading to more robust solutions at larger hospital systems, often in the form of Security Operation Centers (SOCs). Large hospital systems with SOCs benefit from around-the-clock, proactive, security monitoring, detection and remediation. By integrating SOCs, hospitals are capable of providing security that evolves with the changing landscape of health IT and cyber-attackers.

689-BLOG-NUMBERS-2Achieving Big Data Core Competency
Data is at the heart of population health management. The issues with Big Data, however, is that it takes a lot of time, the right resources and a lot of planning to institute effective Big Data capabilities that lead to actionable intelligence. Population health management is leading several large hospital systems to pioneer the most effective manner of instituting Big Data capabilities. Doing so will allow these hospitals to find new ways to correlate massive amounts of external data with the health of a population. For example, Big Data could allow hospital researchers to determine the effects of local pollution or seasonal weather effects to asthma rates, ultimately improving treatment to that population.

These two benefits stemming from population health management lead to other newfound advantages for hospitals.  For example, by focusing more on cybersecurity and Big Data, the communication and collaboration between patient-facing and back-end departments increases. As a result, the Information Security Officers and Data Architects integrate more with the Doctors and Nurses, ultimately leading to greater and more-holistic hospital engagement. Engagement is a key ingredient in successful population health management and can help produce the desired level of patient care that hospitals hope to achieve.

Achieving proficiency with cybersecurity and Big Data doesn’t happen overnight. Partnering with an organization like Leidos can help hospitals enhance EHR capabilities with an unparalleled focus on cybersecurity and analytics.  Leidos is one of the largest EHR integrators and has a rich history in cybersecurity that includes knowledge around the full life cycle of cybersecurity.  Leidos can help healthcare organizations realize their clinical and business goals, within a safe and secure environment.



Establishing a Foundation for Population Health Management: Turning Data into Information


LaDonna Sweeten is a business and information management professional with more than thirty years of healthcare strategy and technology experience and more than fifteen years of EHR leadership, implementation and optimization experience. LaDonna is currently the Director, Performance Improvement Solutions for Leidos.