“Sometimes the first duty of intelligent men is the restatement of the obvious.” George Orwell
With all the new regulations, mandates, innovations, quality measures, technology, and overall frenzy of our industry’s changing dynamics, it’s easy to lose focus on why we do what we do. Nothing drove that concept home more profoundly than this client’s early success using NextGen® Population Health.
“Build it and they will come”… Getting patients in the door
NextGen Healthcare client, Ryan Geiler, Assistant Manager and Clinical Analyst of Family Medicine of Community Medical Center (CMC) in Falls City, Nebraska, had only been using NextGen Population Health for a month and already discovered just how valuable it was. Using NextGen Population Health Patient Profiler, Ryan and his team focused on identifying high-risk patients, i.e. those with Diabetes, Heart Disease, Hypertension, Thyroid Disease, and more. “We risk scored our patients originally so we could prioritize patients to get them in the door—and also identified those patients as needing extraneous tests (TSH, etc.). This was based on familial histories, obesity, HTN and previous abnormal labs,” Ryan said.
As a result of this initial patient outreach initiative, one patient in particular who was flagged as “high-risk”—complained of chest pains while she was actually in the clinic. “She wasn’t planning to show up for her appointment, but because of our letter—we got her in the door.” This patient ended up getting a heart catheterization within 24 hours; she had 98% blockages in two major arteries—resulting in a double heart bypass the next day. “Needless to say, she is a ‘big fan’ of our clinic and program now,” said Ryan.
Based on this population risk scoring—the clinic identified 24 new patients with severe thyroid disease who had not previously been diagnosed. Some of those results were so extreme they flagged as “Critical”— greater than 150 TSH).
Population Health and all the good stuff
So maybe this is why everybody’s talking about population health management these days. We can tout its value all day long. We can talk about how automated proactive patient outreach improves clinical and financial outcomes; how it identifies high-risk, high-cost patients, how it keeps your patients from falling through “the cracks,” and how population health management provides the foundation for sophisticated business intelligence and meaningful analytics. The latter, in particular, is critical to provider success as healthcare transitions from a volume- to value-based payment system. In fact, here at NextGen Healthcare, population health is core to numerous discussions, planning sessions, and webinars, as it’s a priority solution that we continue to improve to enable our clients to do “all of the above” and even more. But when you get down to brass tacks, aside from all the perks, it’s really about saving lives.
New systems and technologies may initially feel disruptive to the everyday practice workflow. However, the results are worth it. CMC providers have embraced NextGen Population Health because they are getting people in the door and employing their expertise to improve the quality of their patients’ lives. Initially, there was some apprehension about dedicating time and resources to a new initiative given the fast pace of this busy practice. “One doctor chose the thyroid campaign mentioned earlier,” Ryan said. “This doctor tells me with great enthusiasm every day that he’s identified yet another patient with Thyroid disease.
I guess this population health stuff can be addictive. As they say, “The proof is in the pudding.”