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Population Health, Valued-Based Care and Social Media

By Rebecca Gecan, - December 8, 2016

Population_health.jpgPopulation health is defined asthe health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group.” Population health mixes policy and patient care programs to ideally produce better patient outcomes. Success is measured by both overall health of the population and the distribution of their health. Not a new concept, but population health has received growing exposure since the advent of the triple aim in healthcare and the ACA.

In this Health Affairs Blog by David Kindig, he writes,A critical component of population health policy has to be how the most health return can be produced from the next dollar invested…”.

Enter Value-based Care

Value-based Care has shifted patient care from a quantity-focused fee-for-service model to quality-focused, patient-centered care model. Physicians and their organization are no longer incentivized for the quantity of patients they care for, but instead the quality of the care they provide. By 2018, 90% of fees for service will be tied to quality metrics. Speaking generally, metrics for value-based care include:

  • Safety
  • Clinical care (patient outcomes and process)
  • Efficiency and Cost Reduction
  • Patient Experience and Care Coordination

With the recent US elections, and threats of ACA repeal, many believe that value-based care and quality metrics will remain The movement to engage patients and their communities to get more involved in their care is here to stay and the government is encouraging this shift by the way they pay. However, quality outcomes are tricky. Outcomes are not just affected by the medical care provided but more so by socioeconomic factor like access to healthy foods or employment, which in large part are outside of the provider's control.

Using Social Media to Educate and Engage Patients

So, how are many healthcare communities engaging, educating and connecting with their patients to promote healthy lifestyles? One answer is through Social Media. A 2014 article by the National Institute of Health, states that social media use in U.S. adults increased from 8% to 72% in 2005. It can easily be assumed that this number has since increased. Social Media is a powerful social communication tool that is being used by healthcare providers to educate and promote healthy lifestyles and supplement their community outreach.

The Mid-Atlantic Association of Community Health Centers published a paper titled, The Importance of Social Media in Community Health. In this paper they outline the benefits of using social media, in particular to community health centers, which included:

  • Empowering patients and individuals to live better, healthier lifestyles  
  • Learning what your patients are saying and sharing about your community health center
  • Enabling health center advocates to distribute messages about your organization through their social web presence
  • Humanizing your health center by not limiting communication to one-way messages and traditional forms of media
  • Increasing trust and loyalty from your patients and supporters

The article goes on to say “Social Media has the capacity to empower, engage, and educate both consumers and providers of health care.”

Healthcare providers are quickly recognizing the benefits of using social media to impact their population and contribute to the value-based shift in patient care. For many healthcare providers, suppliers and manufacturers social media is still a novice tool. KBK Communications can help you engage in social media to connect with and educate your providers, customers, prospects and patients. KBK Communications is a healthcare digital marketing agency that serves the healthcare supply chain. Connect with us on LinkedIn, Twitter or Facebook.

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