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Healthcare providers holding back on buying population health tools, HIMSS Analytics says

The study found that many healthcare organizations are tackling pop health projects without purchasing IT tools specific to the task.

Mike Miliard, Editor, Healthcare IT News

Population health management is fast becoming a priority for healthcare providers, but many are still figuring out which technology partners are best suited to help them fuel data-driven initiatives, according to a new 2015 Population Health Study by HIMSS Analytics.

The study found that many healthcare organizations are tackling pop health projects without purchasing IT tools specific to the task.

"While roughly 67 percent of surveyed organizations claim to have population health programs in place, only one quarter of those currently utilize a vendor-provided solution to address their population health needs," said HIMSS Analytics Director of Research Brendan FitzGerald, in a statement announcing the findings.

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[Also: Hospitals spending most on analytics, population health technology, executives say]

HIMSS Analytics polled 200 healthcare executives about their their population health initiatives now and in the future, tracking their use of population health IT and consultants for an idea of what their project will look like in five years.

Most organizations have focused their populations health efforts on chronic disease management (83 percent of respondents with initiatives in place) and wellness/preventive health (82 percent), according to the report. Still, "very few indicated the use of a dedicated vendor solution to help address their population health needs."

Indeed, according to HIMSS Analytics, "there is a high level of uncertainty" about using vendor tools to address future population health needs.

[Also: Broward Health picks Cerner's population health, readmission prevention platforms]

Overall, only 25 percent of organizations with initiatives in place currently use a vendor-provided population health solution.

As for consultants, nearly 23 percent of respondents with initiatives in place either use a consultant or are considering one, the report shows. But nearly 60 percent said they do not use a consultant for any of their population health initiatives.

When they are enlisted, some consultants are used to create a comprehensive program roadmaps, operational goals and metrics; others are focusing on accountable care and clinically integrated network development, according to HIMSS Analytics.

Twitter: @mikemiliardHITN