Improving population health makes financial sense

Investing in population health and value-based medicine helps our communities but also makes good financial sense, said Dr. Roy Beveridge, Humana’s Chief Medical Officer, in a blog post for Forbes.com.

“Healthy people spend more time enjoying life and less time in hospitals,” Dr. Beveridge wrote. “Health plans pay fewer claims when their members are healthier, and those members spend less out of their own pockets. When people are healthier, they have fewer unplanned and avoidable physician office visits. This frees up physicians to focus on wellness and disease prevention–things like flu shots and diabetes prevention–while also allowing time for their sickest patients, those who need them most.”

It makes sense to understand and try to influence the local, social and environmental factors that affect people’s health, he wrote.

“A better healthcare model is one that makes people healthier by reducing health barriers, promoting disease prevention and ensuring a dedicated focus on the sickest among us. It is not simply taking care of people when they become sick. It is working to prevent people from becoming sick.

“This is a win-win for all: healthier people, improved quality and lower costs. It’s the promise–the trifecta–of population health, and it leverages the concept of value-based care by paying physicians for the health outcomes of the populations they serve, not simply for the services they provide.”

Factors such as air quality, sedentary lifestyles, food insecurity, transportation and social isolation have a big impact on health, and no community is the same.

“Health must go beyond health coverage and clinical services and address these frequent social factors that impact people’s daily lives,” Dr Beveridge wrote. “Population health is about understanding the impact of these local elements and addressing and integrating them in a holistic approach with the clinical elements.”

Read the full blog posting here.

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