Diagnostic Imaging and its Role in Population Health Management

2015-01-08
 

Diagnostic Imaging Supports Population Health Many healthcare organizations are focusing on population health management strategies as they prepare to transition to value-based care models. It is predicted that within 10 years, half of all healthcare payments will be value-based. Population health management tactics are crucial as organizations focus on improving the health of certain patient groups, since 5 percent of the population accounts for half of healthcare spending.

Every medical department will be analyzed for the ways it can support population health management, including radiology departments. Diagnostic imaging solutions are crucial tools, collecting data for insight into trends, alerting physicians to significant findings and facilitating communication between physicians.

Collecting Data for Trend Analysis

Diagnostic imaging solutions collect huge amounts of data. Data merely sitting in storage is not very useful. Data that is analyzed for insight into trends, on the other hand, can be extraordinarily useful for population health management.

Take a group of patients who undergo sacroiliac joint injections for chronic pain. If data is collected about patients who receive certain brands of injections, undergo specific physical therapy programs and have the best outcomes, that data can be used to create care management guidelines as part of a population health strategy. Outcomes assessment is one component of population health management. Diagnostic imaging solutions provide valuable data about trends that help healthcare leaders as they create population health tactics.

Alerting Physicians to Significant Findings

Population health management will often require improved coordination of care for patients who have chronic, complex conditions. As care management team members work together to help improve the health of patients, referring physicians will need better ways to stay up-to-date on their patients’ test results. Diagnostic imaging solutions that send referring physicians alerts about significant findings enable them to intervene more quickly and coordinate care to provide the appropriate treatment.

“A well-managed population health program can remove physician burden and enable physicians to operate at the top of their license,” says Andrew Mellin, vice president and medical director of McKesson’s population health and risk management group.

Diagnostic imaging solutions that automate findings can act as a support system for population health management, helping to ensure that significant findings are quickly provided to teams who are coordinating care to help improve patient health.

Improving Communication Between Physicians

In addition to exchanging information between care team members, communication between other healthcare providers is important for population health strategies. For example, McKesson QICS™ for Radiology-Emergency Department workflows communicates results in real time and then highlights any discrepancies so they may be resolved quickly by the physician or radiologist.

For example, if a patient comes to the emergency department with chest pain, is initially diagnosed with pleurisy because of lupus but an ECG shows myocarditis, the ED will be alerted. Physicians can work with the patient’s care manager to make sure that any recommended care is considered as per population health management strategies.

As more health systems focus on population health management strategies, every department will be called on to take part and support efforts. Diagnostic imaging has a valuable role to play, with solutions that provide information about trends, facilitate care coordination and foster communication between physicians.

For more information about QICS, workflows such as Emergency – Radiology Discrepancy Tracking and other powerful workflow solutions that work with any PACS, contact us.

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