What stands in the way of population health? 10 key notes

The big players in healthcare right now are all talking about population health — but is it really being implemented across the country? Or is the ideal too good for reality?

A new survey from PerfectServe shows there are still several communication challenges for healthcare providers and patients. Almost all — 98 percent — of the clinical and administrative respondents felt communication must improve for effective population health management and 95 percent thought successful collaboration would lead to fewer readmissions.

"Policy makers, hospitals and health systems are rightly focused on improving population health, but these survey results demonstrate a very real pain point that needs to be addressed before the industry will ever succeed in making that a reality," said Jennifer DeBruler, MD, medical director of Advocate Health Center's Contact Center. "Without unified communication across providers, boosting population health and realizing the associated costs and care benefits will be impossible."

Here are 10 key issues noted in the survey:

1. Patient care is delayed while waiting for important information from the patient.

2. Around half of the clinicians said they don't always know the correct care team members to contact in a given situation.

3. More than half of the providers said they waste time trying to communicate with the broader care team.

4. Only around a fourth of the respondents reported being able to "usually" contact colleagues for collaboration or consults.

5. Slightly under half were frequently contacted erroneously when they don't care for the patient in question.

6. There were 61 percent who said HIPAA regulations hamper effective communication and collaboration.

7. Phone calls and online patient portals are the most common current communication technologies used to optimize population health management.

8. The mobile and remote technologies have less adoption:

• Telemedicine: 39 percent
• Remote coordination: 36 percent
• Video conferencing: 36 percent
• Remote monitoring: 32 percent
• Mobile care team communications: 32 percent
• Remote consults: 31 percent

9. The electronic medical record is the only communication mechanism used in 12 percent of the time to communicate with physicians within the organization or to obtain answers to questions.

10. Around 29 percent of medical professionals aren't satisfied with how their organizations use secure communications, with dissatisfaction coming from having to use different technologies as well as not all team members being able to access secure communication technology.

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