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Healthcare execs expect pace of population health to slow under Trump

While those surveyed by Numerof and Associates said population health is important, policy shifts could threaten progress, they say.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Healthcare providers are still committed to population health management, but they've lowered their expectations for the pace of change ahead of policy shifts foreseen under President Donald Trump's administration, according to the second annual State of Population Health survey by Numerof and Associates, a healthcare strategy consultancy.

The survey collected responses from more than 500 healthcare executives. Of this group, 95 percent rated population health as important for future success, and many have taken steps to move forward. About 74 percent of respondents reported their organization had a designated division, department or institute for population health programs, a 13 percent increase over the previous year.

Almost two-thirds of respondents, 64 percent, reported a formal process for working with physicians who are outliers on cost or quality, and 53 percent said physician payment is at least partially based on the ability to manage variation.

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Yet organizations still have little financial exposure tied to risk-based contracts. Most of the respondents said 10 percent or less of their current revenue was in such agreements.

Executives are also dialing back their expectations for growth from this baseline. In this year's survey, respondents projected 20 to 40 percent of their revenue will flow through alternative models within two years, down from 40 to 60 percent in the prior survey.

As a measure of the difficult transition period, survey respondents commonly described the challenge of succeeding in two payment models. Only 17 percent of respondents said their organization is "very prepared" to take on risk as of this moment.

Numerof conducted the study in collaboration with David Nash, MD, dean of the Jefferson College of Population Health.

"This state-of-the-field survey report clearly shows that population health has matured, and despite the election surprise, remains the single best strategy for our ailing system," said Nash in a statement.

Twitter: @JELagasse