The Definitive Blog

New Study Leveraging Population Health Management Cuts Down Costs

Definitive Healthcare offers population health data for both hospitals and physicians (subscribers only.) In addition, Definitive Healthcare tracks various financial and clinical metrics for 8,000+ facilities including estimated number of ER visits, and total patient revenue.

 

Due to the results of a recent study by Humana and Catasys Inc.,  healthcare providers may start to look at population-based care a bit differently. The findings indicate that population health management plays a tremendous role in driving down overall healthcare costs and improving patient care.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health approximates that 23 million Americans in need of treatment for a substance abuse disorder (SUD,) however, less than 11% receive treatment. In addition a  trend report from Express Scripts reveals that “close to 60% of patients who are taking opioids for pain medication are also taking additional drugs that present serious patient safety risks when taken in combination.” By utilizing patient claims data to analyze past diagnoses and flag patients that may have a substance abuse problem (that could have been overlooked by healthcare professionals in the past,) Human and Catasys Inc. were able to select 151 patients to participate in a substance abuse management program. Based on their claims history, their predictive number of ER visits and inpatient hospital admissions were determined. The program lowered overall healthcare costs by 46% per participant group (where the non-participant overall costs increased by 14%,) and also lowered ER visits by 16% and inpatient hospitalizations by 67%.

With this close look at patient behavior, government officials and the healthcare industry are partnering to prevent adverse events, crimes related to substance abuse, and overdose deaths. The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has further recommended that health care providers take advantage of population health analytics to identify those with chronic pain sooner. Furthermore, this study illustrates that healthcare data analytics can be used to closely monitor, and prevent future substance abuse disorders in patients that are at an increased risk.

Dr. Larry Weinstein, Chief Medical Officer for LifeSynch, a wholly owned subsidiary of Humana that provides behavioral health services, championed the use of population health stating: “By taking a proactive approach, as opposed to a reactive one, we were able to reach people at risk for medical and psychiatric complications from substance use disorders. This enabled us to take the necessary steps to help people improve their health.”

This new study in population health management reveals that in addition to lowering costs and ER visits, health care providers are better able to take care of their patients, and as a result patients are better taken care of.

May 4, 2015