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Bedrock for pop health success: physician buy-in

The best population health management program is built on data and supported by robust operations that can scale up to meet the organization's needs.

Susan Morse, Senior Editor

A good population health strategy requires physician engagement, C-suite involvement and the flexibility to be able to scale up to meet the organization's needs, according to Renee Broadbent, associate vice president of Population Health Information Technology and Strategy for UMass Memorial Healthcare.

Broadbent's role is to organize the data for the numerous hospitals and physician offices within the UMass system that may be located on the other end of state. Many are also in an accountable care organization. 

Only about 60 percent use the same electronic medical record, Epic, while the other 40 percent are in various EMRs.

"There are significant challenges with this," said Broadbent. 

To help push value-based care in such a diverse system, UMass Memorial created the department of Information Services and the Office of Clinical Integration to support system-level population health management functions. 

Broadbent has the ability to scale up the analytic engine to take and use information from, for instance, 26 different EMRs.

But to get the necessary buy-in from physicians, a cultural change is necessary, Broadbent said. Doctors may feel burned out from having to convert to an electronic medical record.

"It's because we fatigued them," Broadbent said. "We've got those who say they will take the penalty, the incentive money is not worth it. We still have a ton of work to do. It's all about trust."

To get everyone rowing in the same direction, Broadbent's multi-disciplinary team works to make physician lives easier by providing services to help them with their MIPS requirements and ACO scores.

On the other side, UMass expects physician engagement and is able to track who has opened emails on such topics as population health data identifying at-risk patients.

The cost for such a program for a health system the size of UMass, "is not insignificant," Broadbent said. "We're constantly evaluating our strategy, to support our population. One thing that I would really recommend is to make sure you have buy-in at the highest level and that you have a strategy to move in the direction of value-based care that has some flexibility."

Renee Broadbent will be speaking in the session, "Creating a population health strategy that scales," scheduled for Tuesday, March 6th, from 2:30 - 3:30 p.m. in the Venetian, Delfino 4002.

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Twitter: @SusanJMorse
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