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Cost-effective and Health-enhancing: A Focus on Population Health Management

20 January 2015

Cost-effective and health-enhancing

Michael Englehart, President of Advocate Physician Partners (Chicago, IL), believes that hospitals must work together with physicians, home care, skilled nursing facilities and other venues of care to improve health care outcomes and value – reducing waste, duplication of services and other inefficiencies.

- One challenge the health care industry faces is how to control costs while delivering high-quality patient care. Thanks to innovative programs that began at Advocate two decades ago, we’re demonstrating that better healthcare outcomes can be achieved at lower costs. One of the key reasons for our success is the clinical integration network we have put in place over the past 10+ years. Our clinical integration network has brought our physicians and hospitals together focused on driving greater value into our healthcare system (some examples: diabetic management, asthma control, elective inductions & generic prescribing to name a few). As a result we track our performance on over 140 indicators which we feel help improve the care in our communities, says Englehart.

The Triple Aim created valuable goals

By enhancing the patient experience, providing better outcomes and reducing costs, Advocate created their goals. The underpinnings of these goals are safety, quality, service, coordinated care and strong physician engagement.  - We want to make it easier for our doctors to work within the Advocate system to manage population health. We truly believe, and the data we are receiving from the payors and our results compared to national benchmarks help to validate, that Advocate delivers superior outcomes for our patients.

The role of "big data"

- Big Data is also very important in managing the health of a population. We’re very excited about working with Cerner on the new registry solution – the collection and presentation of data will be of great help to physicians in managing patient population health. The reality is this could be the most significant leapfrog opportunity in our industry right now.

Advocate has chosen to partner with Cerner on their Population Health Management strategy.

- We are aligned on the vision that healthcare needs to change and that we need to view healthcare through the lens of population health management. We were also very impressed with Cerner’s track record, commitment to quality and the ability Cerner will provide our physicians and our healthcare system to better track our patients.

The biggest challenges for the future

- The biggest challenges related to the evolution of PHM for the future will be, I think, is ensuring the physician is at the front and center through the continuum of care, in partnership with hospitals, home care, skilled nursing facilities and other venues of care. This will increase the value of the health care dollar through improved health outcomes, care coordination and efficiency. We also believe that big data will afford healthcare systems, such as Advocate, the ability to cluster patients and take more proactive steps in the care model. We are excited about making this breakthrough in our care model and feel it is what we need to do as a country to ensure we can provide care to all.

- Moving to a PHM model is a process that requires a great deal of commitment, collaboration and investment. It has to be endorsed or led by the physicians within an organization and provides metrics that support the physician and lead the way to continual quality enhancement. On the technology side we think electronic medical records, disease registries, patient portals and big data analytics shared across the continuum of care are must-haves as we go forward, says Englehart.


Advocate Health Care is the largest health system in Illinois and one of the largest healthcare providers in the Midwestern United States. Advocate operates over 250 sites of care, including 12 hospitals and one of the region’s largest medical groups.

In 2004 Advocate launched Advocate Physician Partners, which brings together more than 4,000 employed and independent physicians committed to improving health care quality, safety and outcomes for patients across the Chicago area and central Illinois.

Source: (Source: Computer World Norway)

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