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How the Successful Management of Population Health Can Increase Healthcare Administrative Savings

Population health management has recently become a priority focus for providers to address the health needs of specific populations. Not only has this methodology been proven to improve health outcomes, but it has also been shown to reduce overall healthcare costs through its proactive approach. By more quickly identifying the social and environmental factors that can impact patients’ health, the interventions needed to maintain higher health standards can be less invasive and more cost effective. 


Population health has been defined as "the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group". It is an approach to health that aims to improve the health of an entire human population based on health outcomes, social determinants, and preventative care.


At Signature Performance, we are dedicated to streamlining healthcare inefficiencies and reducing administrative costs and burdens and remain curious and focused on exploring innovative and creative ways to improve the healthcare ecosystem. By staying up-to-date with the latest healthcare trends and innovations, our team stays on the pulse of healthcare’s most cutting-edge movements and are empowered to continue transforming the healthcare industry.



Social Determinants of Health 


Aside from certain health conditions we are predisposed to through genetics, there are a variety of external factors that impact the health conditions we experience. These are commonly referred to as the social determinants of health, which encompass factors related to one’s socioeconomic status, access to health services, physical environment, and health behaviors.


A patient’s socioeconomic status can be a significant indicator of the complexity and costliness of their health. Consider a patient who is living in poverty - due to the scarcity of financial resources, they are less likely to be able to seek routine preventative care or regularly manage chronic diseases. Many are forced to seek care only when their condition has grown unbearably complex or emergent. Patients in poverty are also more likely to be underinsured or uninsured, which can lead to poor or limited healthcare access. 


With a lack of preventative care resources, a trip to the emergency room can unfortunately become one of the only options. Care provided in emergency departments comes with a much heavier price tag than being seen in a general physician’s office. Due to 24/7/365 operations, emergency departments must be prepared with the personnel, technology, and equipment needed to provide life-saving treatment at any and all times. When these beds are occupied by lower-acuity patients, it utilizes higher-cost resources to provide the same level of care that could be provided at a much lower cost in a clinic setting.



Prioritizing Preventative Care Initiatives


A positive example of the benefits of adopting a preventative care mindset is that of Diabetes. Type 2 diabetes is one of the most prevalent and preventable diseases in the United States healthcare ecosystem. Did you know that at-risk patients can receive a pre-diabetes classification before receiving an official diagnosis? Pre-diabetes can be managed and treated with a patient’s primary care physician through low-cost, lifestyle modifications to diet and activity levels before further, more invasive intervention is necessary whereas chronic type 2 diabetes care typically requires additional care interventions, such as blood glucose monitoring supplies or insulin therapy. 


The truth is, extensive treatment often becomes expensive treatment. By focusing on preventative care rather than reactive care, we can empower patients to take an active role in their health outcomes and reduce overall costs.  Because most health plans cover some form of preventive care services, such as annual checkups and routine immunizations, these encounters are simpler to code and bill, which reduces processing time and the administrative burdens. Put simply, the sooner that preventative care actions are taken, the less costly it will be for patients, providers, and the healthcare industry as a whole.



Managing Chronic Disease


Even if a patient has a chronic health condition, the costs associated with managing the condition are lower when routine care is maintained. For example, if a patient is diagnosed with hypertension (high blood pressure), and they are prescribed medication to help reduce their blood pressure overtime, the patient can more effectively manage their condition and prevent the disease from escalating to a more severe condition, such as heart attack, stroke, or organ failure. 


These critical conditions often require more invasive care like extended hospital stays and surgical procedures – all of which come with a higher price tag. According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the average cost of a hospital stay for a heart attack was $22,300, and skyrockets even higher when surgery is involved. Compared to the average annual cost of $336 per patient to obtain antihypertensive medication, it is clear that chronic disease management is a much more cost-effective option that also yields improved health outcomes.



Healthy Patients Champion Healthy Businesses


Signature Performance is dedicated to serving our mission of improving the health of our clients’ business and making the lives of the people we work with better. When the healthcare ecosystem adopts a proactive approach to addressing population health concerns, not only do patients benefit but so does the industry as a whole. With a focus on reducing administrative costs and burdens, our Signature team of healthcare experts are committed to exploring new, innovative ways in which we can transform the industry and make healthcare healthier for those who need it most. 


To learn more about how Signature Performance can help your organization increase efficiencies and reduce administrative costs, contact us today to see what’s possible.


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