April 18, 2017 Editorial Team in FeaturedPopulation Health

How Covenant Health Utilized Analytics towards Population Health

Despite the initial administrative concerns, the healthcare industry is continuing its journey towards value to curb costs and improve patient outcomes. The U.S. healthcare spending, which in 2015 hit nearly $10,000 for every person in the country, is 29 percent higher than the next most expensive country, Luxembourg. With rising costs, the industry is looking towards innovative programs that tap healthcare organizations biggest resource: data.

Both Richard Boehler, MD, president and CEO, and Rebecca Williams, RN, care coordination manager at St. Joseph Hospital of Covenant Health (Covenant) connected with Bill Siwicki of Healthcare IT News to discuss how Covenant tapped their timely information to curb costs and improve quality of care for their employees. Here’s a recap of the key takeaways from the discussion:

  • Adopted a population health program – To better track and manage the health of Covenant employees across three hospitals and affiliated facilities they looked to population health as a solution. By operating as a self-insured entity, Covenant saw this move as a necessity to improve health and control increasing expenses. The goal of the program was to enhance the well-being of employees, decrease costs and better understand the healthcare utilization patterns of employees and their dependents.
  • Harnessed data analytics – Through data and analytics, they guided their population health management efforts. “The first thing we started thinking about was where the money was going; it must be avoidable ER use. We dug into the data, and nope, that wasn’t the case. Then we thought back injuries, so let’s dig in there and maybe we could create a comprehensive back program. But it wasn’t even our employees, it was their spouses, so that went out the window,” said Williams. Executives and caregivers learned that they had to prioritize their employees in terms of healthcare consumption.
  • Making insights actionable – “You cannot take a population and put a stamp on it and say let’s do things this way; we had to look at prioritizing people and we worked with sophisticated analytics to see where our time would be best spent,” Williams explained. “The high utilizers were on dialysis or had an organ transplant or an acute burn, those were not things we could make an impact on. But that middle 70 percent is where we could make an impact. Keep people in the middle 70 percent from moving up to the highest spend category.”

Through Covenant’s efforts, they could identify cost drivers and opportunities for preventative care, enabling one of their three facilities, St. Joseph Hospital, to spend $2.5 million less in 2016 and a 12 percent per member per month improvement over all of 2015.

For more insights on how Covenant created a successful population health program, check out the full Healthcare IT News article or their case study here. If you’re interested in learning more on how our population health solution can help your organization – check out details here.