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3 ways that population health is a game-changer

You’ve heard how population health management will play a central role in reimagining care delivery; today, I’m going to predict the three ways it will be game changing.

1. Population Health has the potential to eradicate society’s health inequalities


True healthcare transformation will come when we address the social determinants of health: the social, physical, political and economic factors that influence a person’s health. Experts – such as David Nash, MD, MBA, Dean of the Jefferson College of Public Health –  believe, for example, that a person’s zip code is their number one health predictor.


We are already seeing healthcare organizations asking vendors to incorporate social determinants of health risk data into patient records. Looking ahead, technology will enable us to analyze people within a group (e.g. a zip code) and use the data to determine ways to improve their care coordination and delivery and, ultimately, their health.

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2. Population Health will prove that data can make doctors better at their jobs


The more that we collect and analyze data, the more insights we can generate, enabling doctors, care givers and individuals to make the right decisions and take the right actions. Predictive analytics, genomics, precision medicine – there are so many areas of medicine where data is helping practitioners achieve breakthroughs. Population health management is already impacting the manner in which care is being provided and, I believe, when we reach the tipping point where value-based care is accepted as the norm, that’s when we will see widespread acceptance that data can help doctors do what they do best – and better it.  

3. Population Health will unlock health prevention


Right now, PHM is successfully being used to better manage the most chronic patient populations: those 20% whose complex chronic care needs account for around 80% of the costs. But we know that, if we are to successfully evolve from our reactive “sick care society” to one that actively manages and prolongs health, then we need to throw our population health arsenal at keeping people out of the system to begin with.

Health systems need to look for ways to enter their communities beyond the hospital and the doctor’s office.

We need to intervene in schools, communities and workplaces. Once we do that and we apply our population health tools to stratify those populations, assess risks and intervene, we will be in a better place to engender shared and individual responsibility and finally unlock prevention.

The author

Tom Zajac

Tom Zajac

BG Leader, Population Health Management, Philips

Tom is responsible for accelerating growth in connected care – enabling consumers, providers and health organizations to benefit from Philips’ strengthened offerings in population health management. Tom brings years of experience in the healthcare industry, building clinical, financial, and operational performance improvement solutions, as well as piloting health IT companies through rapid growth and industry-leading customer satisfaction.


Visit Tom’s LinkedIn profile


Innovation Matters delivers news, opinions and features about healthcare, and is focused on the professionals who work within the industry, as well as Philips as a cutting-edge health technology organization. From interviews with industry giants to how-to guides and features powered by Philips data, our goal is to deliver interesting, educational and entertaining content to empower and inspire all those who work in healthcare or related industries. 


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