The delivery of modern medical care has become increasingly reliant on technological sources. The vendors that provide these sources have many challenges to face when it comes to creating technology infrastructures and processes that support the clients they serve in the medical industry. The most noteworthy of these challenges may be in approaching their clients from a perspective that builds partnerships instead of one that reinforces a buyer-seller relationship.

Not Exactly the Field of Dreams

“If you build it, they will come” doesn’t necessarily work with providing technology solutions to support population health goals. Health care providers are, in ideal situations, positioned to seek the best diagnosis, treatment, and patient care record processes that support better population health overall. Vendors that understand this key dynamic know that the goal is to design and develop tools that care providers need. What this means for vendors is that they have a duty to reach an understanding of what their customers require in terms of modernized methods of care delivery.
In this case, learning what types of system capabilities will benefit care providers the most before beginning the design process directs development efforts to produce targeted solutions. This involves deeper partnerships between vendors and their customers, one that places the vendor in a position to be educated on specific customer needs. The alternative would be attempting to market a solution that was designed without care provider input — and one that may have capabilities that are too generalized.

Current Methods and Examples

Smart vendors have already seen the writing on the wall when it comes to taking this more targeted approach. Many population health management platforms are incorporating artificial intelligence to provide better predictive analysis for disease modeling. Machine learning capabilities can automate risk stratification and help in the identification of populations that are excellent candidates for targeted health intervention activity as well.
Other examples of more focused approaches include UPMC, which has developed and implemented approaches that balance precision medicine and population health goals. Likewise, Princeton Healthcare has shown progress in decreasing post-acute care expenses at a rate of 12 percent by using population health tools. Its use of value-based care initiatives has also seen inpatient utilization dropping by 5 percent. NYU Langone and Robert Wood Johnson have similarly enhanced their population health program goals through the use of workflow changes and platform innovations.

A Two-Way Street

Partnering with vendors in new and innovative ways has increasingly become a necessity for care providers in order to reach population health goals. Relationships between providers and vendors that are built on a mutual willingness to learn in order to reach target goals have demonstrated a high potential for success for both vendor and provider.
This process is, of course, a two-way street. Strong bilateral communication between parties is a necessity for the most effective results. As emergent technological approaches continue to provide alternatives that have the potential to increase efficiency as well as efficacy, there will be even more need for strong working relationships forged between vendor and provider. Moving past a buyer-seller paradigm and adopting one where each entity is willing to listen and learn will facilitate the development of such relationships