There is a strong relationship between HIT and population health management. This relationship is even more critical because of all of the spend in HIT, spend whose ROI doesn’t always jump out at the C-Suite.
A component of HIT that should be included is based upon the fact that without being successful at Patient Health Management, Population Health Management will not be successful. If synergy—1 + 1 is greater than 2—ever had a place to call home, this would be one of those places.
For the population to become healthier, the individuals that comprise the population—the patients—must become healthier. This is not a chicken-and-egg premise. It must start with and be driven by making the people healthier.
One way to make healthier people is to get them more involved in their healthcare is by finding ways to get them more involved in their health. And one way to do that is to facilitate that process by making it easier for them to manage their health and to do business with their providers.
Perhaps the simplest way for people to do that is through a customer portal, something most providers do not have. A customer portal is very different from a patient portal. A customer portal provides 2-way interaction between the hospital—think PCPs, specialists, labs, therapy, and wellness programs—and patients—think inpatients, outpatients, discharged patients, and prospective patients.
A customer portal doesn’t just let the hospital feed people information they think patients need to know—like the hours of operation of the gift shop—but allows patients to feed the hospital information, and it allows patients to accomplish processes.
Remember those questions on the SAT; If A is to B then C is to ‘X’. You had to pick the right answer for X which was most like C. Band-Aid is to hospital, as your hospital’s current website to a customer portal.
A well designed customer portal will improve patient access, education, outcomes, and the overall health of those patients who make up that population.