Population health management proposes a surprising (and surprisingly affordable) solution to rising health care costs—personalized and value-based care solutions that cost less, not more, than existing care options. Initially, the idea of offering more care for less money wasn't an obvious solution to self-insured employers, government agencies and other organizations. "Companies like ours had to take some risks and say, ‘We think by providing more services we can lower costs and improve outcomes,’" says Jason Dinger, CEO of MissionPoint Health Partners. "We're disrupting health care in a good way."

Reaching those in need

A close analysis of how care (and dollars) are distributed has given population health management companies important insight into how to best serve a diverse client base in many communities across the U.S., which also include underserved and vulnerable populations. Given that typically just 5 percent of plan members drive 65 percent of a company’s health costs, population health management companies are able to use metrics to identify patients who will benefit most from specialized care.

Making sure patients have all their needs met following a new diagnosis, emergency room visit or other health crisis results in not just better care, but better results. "If you are a population health manager, you're trying to help people manage their care and improve their health so they don't have a future bad event," Dinger says.

"Making sure patients have all their needs met following a new diagnosis, emergency room visit or other health crisis results in not just better care, but better results. "

"You're making sure you visit the patient while they're in the hospital and you're making sure they have what they need when they make the transition home, whether that's a wheelchair ramp or an elevated toilet seat or maybe just making sure throw rugs are removed to prevent a future fall."

Population health management also focuses on clinical and social support beyond traditional healthcare, such as stress management and nutritional guidance. "What's needed is unique to every person, so we're there for all types of solutions," Dinger says.

Surprising toll

While some may assume such individualized care would be expensive, it pales in comparison to the costs that come with an emergency room visit or a major health crisis that might have been avoided with some simple adjustments. It seems population health care is getting results in both positive healthcare outcomes and in lower bills. MissionPoint clients have saved over $20 million since 2012.

More importantly, what's good for individuals is good for the community's health, both financially and physically. Population health care can help a wide range of patients, including Medicare clients and the underserved, work with healthcare providers toward the goal of creating and supporting high-quality, lower-cost healthcare networks, and that's to everyone's lasting benefit. "I think we really do see that people do better when they have a health partner," Dinger says. "We feel great about the outcomes we've achieved, and we look forward to delivering even more services to the people who need them."