IT Spending Guide: Place Your Bets
Invisible Patients: Population Health Visualization Technology
Finding high-risk patients has been the mainstay of population health technology. Finding patients who are at risk of becoming high-risk patients—so-called "invisible patients"—is population health's next challenge.
At nonprofit Phoenix, Arizona–based Banner Health, technology from BaseHealth in California is beginning to identify these invisible patients and prompt clinicians to reach out to them before they become high-risk patients.
Targeting its Medicare Advantage (MA) population, Banner is using BaseHealth analytics to find these patients more quickly than traditional analysis, says Michael Parris, senior director for business intelligence, analytics, and abstraction at the 28-hospital organization.
The BaseHealth technology, developed in collaboration with Banner, provides visualization and other front-end facing software interfaces to pinpoint the exact nature of a condition, such as blood pressure, family history, or age, leading to the prediction of future illness.
"This gives us a much better way to actually target the right patient that I can do an intervention on," Parris says. "It gives us not just who's going to get sick, but what and why they are at risk."
This effort with BaseHealth's technology, which cost Banner $480,000 in its first year, plus 3.5 full-time equivalent (FTE) employees at $110,000 per FTE, is occurring at scale. Banner Health has 50,000 lives in its MA population.
An assortment of case management staff, including PharmDs and social workers, is intervening with the identified invisible patients to have them actively monitored on risk factors such as blood pressure and high cholesterol, Parris says.
"[The technology] gives us a much better way to actually target the right patient that I can do an intervention on."
—Michael Parris, senior director for business intelligence, analytics, and abstraction; Banner Health
At the end of the initiative's third month, Banner is beginning its initial data analysis, so results are just now emerging.