Population health management (PHM) is not a new concept. Predominantly driven by payers, the care model has been in practice piece-meal over the last 20 years, with generally unsatisfactory results, as measured in terms of healthcare costs. The primary reason for the disappointing results is the fact that these programs were not built to leverage the trust of the physician-patient relationship. In most cases these payer-driven PHM programs consciously avoid the role of the physician due to conflicting incentive systems—the more services that clinicians provide, the higher their payment.
The emerging provider-driven, practice-based PHM programs open up many exciting opportunities because they build upon the physician-patient relationship and demand greater accountability to outcomes by both. This strengthened relationship, coupled with the changes in payment models as value-based incentives replace volume-based incentives, make the PHM programs very promising in the mission to bend the healthcare cost curve.