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Population Health and the Need for Connectivity

We are at a crossroads in American Medicine where we are seeing the goal of the Triple Aim evolve in front of our practices.  The Triple Aim is the belief that for our healthcare system to evolve into a world-class, sustainable institution, three parts of a triangle need to be pursued simultaneously.  The three parts include: improving the patient experience, bettering outcomes, and reducing the cost of providing that care. 


This aim is encapsulated in the concept of healthcare value, which can be defined as the cost per unit of quality delivered.  This is what we are striving for. Health systems and medical practices are retooling themselves with the goal of delivering value, as this is how they will be measured. Because of this, even more sophisticated methods of measuring outcomes are being developed and implemented. 


As an example, we can use the health of asthmatics within a healthcare delivery system. To achieve and improve population health, it is imperative to move the delivery of care “upstream,” to use the words of Donald Berwick.  Upstream-ism is ensuring the patient receives the optimal care prior to when an illness occurs; it is ensuring the primary physician screens for risk factors associated with asthma; it is about ensuring schools know how to handle and triage potential asthmatics.  Upstream-ism is the idea of moving the delivery of care and intervening earlier in the health care continuum.  It follows that outcomes will be better (fewer acute exacerbations), the patient experience will be improved (regularly scheduled, rather than urgent office/ER visits), and costs to society will be lowered (fewer hospitalizations and procedures, less missed work/school).


One of the most important parts of value and population health that is neglected is care team collaboration and communication.  Our healthcare system is segmented into silos of care- each system wants to differentiate itself and be better than its competitors. This leads to disparate electronic medical records systems, different work hours amongst various providers, and lack of direct phone numbers/contact information for our colleagues that are upstream. Not to mention we potentially may not even knowing who is upstream caring for our patients!  All of this is extremely frustrating for patients, who cannot understand why their pulmonologist cannot access information known to their primary care provider.


Enter mobile communications such as HipaaBridge; the technology allows and facilitates wide communication in near-real time that allows for messaging amongst all providers and support personnel caring for a population.  Using a mobile device, a provider can identify and communicate with a colleague in a different specialty, different healthcare system, or a different city. A “group chat” can take place amongst the entire care team to provide, coordinated care – from remote locations and all within seconds.  This is value.  This is the future of healthcare.


To learn more about how your care team can leverage HipaaBridge for secure, HIPAA-compliant messaging, visit