Study local population to improve healthcare: experts

Asma Ali Zain
Filed on March 16, 2019 | Last updated on March 16, 2019 at 08.48 pm
Study local population to improve healthcare: experts

Experts said that for the industry to produce better outcomes across the board, health studies must be localised.

With healthcare developing rapidly and new technologies popping up regularly, the industry is developing solutions to improve patient health.

Experts said that for the industry to produce better outcomes across the board, health studies must be localised and a population health management (PHM) system must be established.

PHM is the aggregation of patient data - such as demographics, clinical symptoms, physical conditions, geography, age, employment type and ethnicity - which helps healthcare stakeholders identify and examine prevalent health issues and care gaps within the patient population.

"This leads to stakeholders offering enhanced medical services," said Shainoor Khoja, chief impact officer of Right Health, a value healthcare organisation in the UAE. 

Through PHM, healthcare professionals gather and analyse clinical data, using technology and solutions, to improve both the patient's health and the provider's financial outcomes.

"One of the main benefits of PHM is focused on finding solutions to bridge the gap in healthcare, presenting providers with actionable steps on how to treat a patient or a group of patients," she said.

"For example, if the majority of the population is suffering from diabetes and obesity, PHM technologies can help providers identify these problems. The availability of this kind of data will assist in preventative healthcare, improve patient safety, and boost the overall quality of healthcare services for an entire population of a particular region," said Shainoor.

PHM programmes also aid in reducing the overall cost of healthcare by creating tailored plans and utilisation of services.

"The data will help educate patients about the trends and encourage them to make healthy choices and lead a healthy lifestyle," she added.

Anchored on the trends, the best interventions can be used to establish better outcome protocols, prevention and risk mitigation programmes, and health promotion campaigns.

"Cumulatively, these provide better quality of health to the patient, lesser cost of claims to the insurer, and positive outcomes can be charged for in group capitation models that pay the provider for keeping the patient well," she said.

PHM enables providers to target prevention and health promotion strategies to mitigate the onset of disease. "For example, identifying risk factors for diabetes could lead to a diabetes prevention programme for a targeted group of the population that involves advice, messaging to reinforce advice, training and messaging to promote healthier food choices, daily exercise and relaxation," she explained.

"All these are far cheaper than years of medicines, insulin and, worse yet, the complications of diabetes that can lead to nerve damage, blindness, obesity, kidney dysfunction, silent heart attacks, gangrene and much more," added Shainoor.

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