While visiting the doctor’s office shouldn’t be a harrowing experience, it can often leave patients feeling overwhelmed. Your doctor may have recommendations for you to have additional testing done, visit a specialist, or change your lifestyle and eating habits. However, the rise in population health management aims to make the whole experience less stressful for patients. Dr. Arnold Pallay of New Jersey strongly believes that population health management is key in optimizing overall patient care.
What is Population Health Management (PHM)?
The overall goal of population health management systems is to create better care plans for individuals based on a wealth of aggregated data. If you see several different doctors, PHM systems allow those doctors to really speak to one another through the data provided. For example, everything from your lab results, billing information, electronic health record, and prescription data history is all in one easy-to-access spot. This allows your health care provider to pinpoint any gaps and address any concerns– plus it can help patients to track and manage certain diseases.
Dr. Pallay, who helped to found Vanguard Medical Group, says his practice always puts patients first. “If you come in for blood pressure, you may leave with certain vaccinations,” said Dr. Pallay. “Perhaps you’ll be set up for a mammogram or colonoscopy based on your patient history.”
The use of metrics and data is really key in this process. Dr. Pallay stresses that it’s important for doctors to not only make recommendations, but to really follow through with patients. “We don’t just tell patients to get a mammogram,” he says. “We make sure you actually get a mammogram.”
This type of patient care can be especially critical when tracking progress over time.
“If we want you to get a Hemoglobin A1C test, which looks at your sugar levels over the course of three months, we make sure that actually gets done,” says Dr. Pallay. “Whether the testing is done by us or by a specialist– we make sure the patient always gets the care they need.”
The idea behind population health management is to always put the patient first. Many patients become frustrated after visiting the doctor’s office because there’s no follow-up. Dr. Pallay makes an effort to check-in with his patients; when they need to see him, he makes himself available. By creating a more open dialogue between patients and doctors, the opportunities for better overall health care really start to open up.
What is the future of Population Health Management (PHM)?
The push towards using population health management systems will ultimately lead to more streamlined health care and an overall healthier population. Plus, when doctors and patients are more engaged, more issues are dealt with ahead of time which prevents the further spread of disease and sickness.
Patients will also spend less money on doctors visits because this type of comprehensive preventative care will lessen the risk of bigger, more costly health issues down the line. If doctors, patients, and health insurance agencies work together in an effort to manage population health, we’ll see a brighter, healthier future for all.