5 Principles for Personalizing Care in Your Population Health Strategy

Adopting population health management strategies is the next step for more than 40% of large employers (>5,000 employees) struggling to contain rising healthcare costs and retain talent, according to a recent EBN survey. Facing an aging workforce and a rise in chronic conditions, employers are increasingly turning to a proactive, data-driven approach to improving the health of the workforce as a whole. The goal? Healthier, happier, more productive employees and lower healthcare costs.

At the same time, however, nearly 80% of these employers say they have limited knowledge of population health. How, for example, do they ensure their population health management strategy doesn’t become a one-size-fits-all approach for their employees? That an individual’s unique circumstances and healthcare needs don’t get lost as employers focus on categorizing people based on conditions and risk?

The following five principles can help put the “personalization” into your population health management strategy:

  • Compassion and technology are critical to influencing behavior. Data and analytics are not enough. To build trust, influence decision making and change behavior over time, you need compassionate human support, a complete personal health data profile, and intelligent technology working in concert. It takes empathetic people, not technology, to interact with your employees to fully understand the social, emotional and behavioral factors and life circumstances affecting their health, well-being and healthcare journey. The information gleaned from these interactions must be combined with personal health data – claims, utilization management data, risk scoring, biometrics, lab results, and data from point solutions – to form a complete personal health profile. That “whole-person profile” can then be used by intelligent technology to learn and to make personalized healthcare recommendations for populations and individuals.
  • Patient navigation is vital to improving the efficiency and outcomes of healthcare. Developed in the 1990s by Dr. Harold Freeman, patient navigation is a patient-centric care delivery model designed to help people overcome the complexity of a fragmented healthcare system and eliminate barriers to care. Ideally, patient navigators function outside of the healthcare system but in partnership with it, developing trusted, one-on-one relationships with individuals and helping them transition smoothly in and out of care settings in the community. Patient navigation can serve as the “glue” for disconnected care processes and be an effective way to put the individual at the center of care.
  • Digital healthcare solutions must be designed for the consumer: compelling, connected and simple. Your employees are consumers, and as consumers, they have come to expect engaging, personalized digital applications that fit into their lives. If your health and benefits solutions are disconnected, hard to find, difficult to access, cumbersome to use, and one-size-fits all, they won’t be used. In fact, it’s likely that less than 50% of your employees are using the health and benefits solutions you’ve deployed, which isn’t good for the health of your workforce or the health of your business. To engage your employees in their healthcare, you need to deliver a simple, connected, and compelling digital health experience tailored to the individual. And it must accommodate each person’s preferred mode of communication, whether online, mobile or phone.
  • Timely personal health data is critical to personalization. Predicting and understanding the unique healthcare needs of an individual – as well as the most appropriate actions to take in support of their health and well-being – requires timely, secure access to their personal health data, including risk scoring, claims, utilization management, biometrics, lab results, and data from health solutions like telemedicine encounters. Which means employers will need to work with health plans to ensure the delivery of data on a more frequent basis, e.g., daily rather than monthly claims data. At the same time, people themselves are the best predictors of their future health needs – which means capturing information directly from members during interactions is equally important to providing highly individualized support.
  • Every interaction is an opportunity to learn and improve. With the “intelligence” capabilities of advanced technologies, every interaction with an individual is an opportunity to learn. And with that learning, we can continuously improve – recommendations, efficiency, and ultimately, the experience and outcomes of healthcare. Machine learning and natural language processing, combined with the insight of a health advocate or patient navigator, can drive a new level of personalization, trust and influence.

In the age of population health, it’s important not to lose sight of the individual. Learn more about how putting the individual at the center of care in the framework of population health can drive significant improvements in the experience, cost and outcomes of care.

Download The Case for Healthcare Advocacy paper.