“Thanks for the data, but what am I supposed to do with it?” This is a typical and reasonable response when faced with the prospect of sifting through thousands of patient records to look for ways to improve services and care programmes.
In other words…
What’s the point of population health analyses?
Our approach to population analytics is less about telling you what data you’ve got and more about showing you what you can do with it, revealing useful insights that you can act on.
Here are some tips for getting the most out of population health analyses.
1. Use the data to test a hypothesis
You might already have ideas and evidence that suggests where there are concerns or issues within the patient population. Are too many frail patients presenting at A&E, for example.
Use the data to test these hypotheses. Population health analytics software tools enable you to easily analyse your data to determine whether there are specific patient cohorts you should be targeting.
2. Design the service that could impact the target cohort
Where the analysis identifies a cohort of patients that you wish to target, design the service you think could impact that cohort. Think about the type of patient who could benefit from it, taking a wider view of their health and circumstances. Build up a patient profile for the service.
3. Consider your workforce and capacity
To meet the needs of the target cohort, you have to design a service that can be delivered according to the make-up and capacity of your workforce. For example, how many people can your team of community matrons see and manage? Taking the workforce into account gives you an idea of how many patients could be included in a service or programme and the cost and logistics of running it.
4. Fit the patient to the service
Intelligent case-finding helps you to select the right patients for a service or programme by looking at more than one dimension of their health. For example, a patient may be multi‑morbid but if their conditions are controlled, they are supported in managing their health and they’re generally fit, they might not benefit from it. (In other words, they are less impactible.)
Find impactible patients by looking at factors — such as isolation, mental health and polypharmacy — which could nudge them from a stable to an unstable situation.