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Population Healthcare Management (PHM) – The Foundation of Future Leadership

Written by: Darlene D'Altorio-Jones (1959-2015) on Sunday, November 9, 2014 Posted in: Acute Care Rehab

Population Healthcare Management (PHM) is a concept in healthcare that will not soon disappear. And, although as a concept the definitions of PHM is still being defined, I think more than ever the need for communities at large to engage in appropriate and well dispersed population health concerns are reaching a peak of imperative understanding. It takes no less than the present ‘ebola crisis’ to help reiterate how truly connected we are as individuals sharing common spaces, air and yes – health! There is no aspect of socioeconomic disparity that is relevant when disease process requires health care to take the leadership role in protecting their community. However, there is more to health than one scare and healthcare management and access is key in moving forward. Let’s review the changes, data and leadership components that can make this happen.

Although the Affordable Care Act has taken more lumps than accolades, it is hard to embrace emerging facts that healthcare for all, as the basic premise, is truly the best ‘medicine’; even when that medicine can be the avoidance of needed healthcare because the population has resources and information enough to keep them healthy. PHM will strive to look at communities and the needs specific to those areas, to make statistics and prevalence information available so that a continuum of resources can act in unison to help resolve and make manageable the results of that information.

Each area has to own a process to recognize, educate and provide appropriate resources at the right time to all that require that information or care. How can this all be realized unless an entire mindset of management and follow-through are embraced and recognized? Individual accountability and communication rich in resource allocation are mapped and provided exactly as needed. Does it sound like anything LESS than a community acting together can manage all that? Most likely not.

If you need a foundation in the definition of PHM as it evolves and the expectations upon us at the present time, review this paper published by Michael A. Stoto, Ph.D., on Population Health. The whitepaper reviews CMS Triple Aim to achieving health and well-being and reduce costs of care. Certainly all of these concepts are being weaved heavily into policy that we must continuously act upon and as healthcare innovation allows greater flexibility in updating and mandating change more often and more quickly. We certainly MUST understand how we can influence and embed appropriate resources as Population Health strategies take hold. The Institutes for Healthcare Improvement Population Health Model, seen below and discussed in Stoto’s paper, leaves the community at-large to figure out and provide the ‘INTERVENTIONS’ as needed for each specific area.


The greatest exercise a healthcare continuum can perform right now is to know specifically their resources and resource connectedness to the community and to develop discharge plans that link need with solution.

By reviewing hospital -systems, REAL capabilities and where there are gaps, a new design in healthcare can create partnerships of strengths to embellish best practices and resource information and links without recreating the wheel dozens of times. Healthcare entities don’t have the time, energy or money to be a specialist in absolutely every resource needed by the community. When we embrace interventions that are multi-fold and community-wide and create the communication to make resources available to each individual, PHM will have a chance to be a real ‘Plan of Care’ as diverse and unique as the community lived in.

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