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Visibility to the population health and wellbeing facilitates forecasting and brings health benefits

By utilising existing data and new tools, it is possible to improve forecasting, gain health benefits and generate cost savings.

Joonas Mäkinen / May 31, 2019

Only a small part of the population accounts for the majority of social and healthcare costs. Knowledge management can help identify customer groups that are at risk of becoming heavy-users of services. By utilising existing data and new tools, it is possible to improve forecasting, gain health benefits and generate cost savings.

The situation regarding social services and healthcare is generally recognised – the population is ageing, the demand for services is growing, and costs are escalating. Getting resources to cope with the growing demand is a challenge. Statistics show that 10 to 20 percent of citizens account for the majority of social and healthcare service use. Service needs are individual and complex putting great strain on the provision of social and healthcare services.

Preventive social and healthcare is the best cure for the escalating costs. At the moment, the allocation of resources is focused for the most part on treating illnesses, when it is already too late in terms of cost prevention. Moreover, treating illnesses is just one part of the health and wellbeing of citizens. The wellbeing of individuals depends on lifestyles, genes, education, employment, social relationships and many other factors. This calls for a broad and comprehensive view of both social services and healthcare. 

Population-based monitoring begins with existing data and requires new indicators

Social and healthcare units would like to have a better understanding of the situation regarding the local population in their own area. The key to the solution lies in existing data. With the right tools, data that has been accumulated over the years can be utilised in decision-making.

This is what is known as knowledge management, which in this case means being aware of the local incidence of illness and the situation regarding social services, as well as future trends and forecasts. With this information, local units can identify and plan interventions suitable for different groups in order to prevent illnesses, allocate resources more efficiently and monitor the impact of these activities.

Existing indicators largely focus on the performance of healthcare, but this is not enough in terms of prevention on the population level. Instead, new indicators are needed in order to monitor comprehensively the health and wellbeing of local populations. The incidence of diabetes, for example, could be influenced in advance in such a way that the disease is postponed or prevented altogether if it were possible to pay closer attention to contacting individuals at risk. A reduction of just one percent in the incidence of a disease can easily generate considerable cost savings.

New visual tools for supporting knowledge management

Lifecare Pulse is a knowledge management tool that e.g. helps identify customer segments that are at risk of requiring more intensive services. The system provides insight into the local health situation, enables services to be allocated more efficiently, and provides concrete tools for measuring and monitoring the impacts. In addition to Population Health and Population Wellbeing views, the solution includes an Organisation view that provides administrators with a comprehensive overview of the status, trends and forecasts.

Since understanding the health and wellbeing of the population is the key to planning efficient and effective services, we at Tieto are working actively to develop the necessary tools. Our visual solution provides a comprehensive overview for monitoring the health and wellbeing of the population, the use of services and performance indicators. This development work is done in close collaboration with our customers.

Joonas Mäkinen
Area Product Owner, Business Intelligence & Analytics

Author

Joonas Mäkinen

Area Product Owner, Business Intelligence & Analytics

Population health and welfare

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