Population Health Management (PHM) is about segmenting and stratifying data to target interventions and reduce variation and inequalities. It sounds complicated right? So the first thing we do when something seems complicated is buy in a little help, because we don’t have the skills to do that detailed analytical work ourselves. Right…? Wrong!
In Nottingham and Nottinghamshire, the financial situation like many places has been challenging. We couldn’t afford to call in the cavalry, we were it! Scary thought, but it also gave us the opportunity to have a look around us at what we could up-cycle!
You see those analysts you have in a cupboard? ..Gathering dust, filling in excel spreadsheets and producing beautifully aligned red amber green reports… You know… The ones who you go to when you need to know how many, or how much for QoF…. Well they are little bundles of analytical gold dust! We quickly realised that we didn’t need consultants to do our PHM work, what we needed to do was open the cupboard door, dust off the layers of performance management responsibilities that’s been weighing them down and invite them into the conversation! Combine their skills and experience with expert clinical and transformational knowledge and voila! A match made in population health management heaven… And once you invite them to the conversation and empower them to be able to tell you what data you actually need, and then watch them go! And be prepared to eat a little humble pie because they’ve known all along that we could have been doing so much more, but along the way we got side tracked by ticking the box and missing the point! When we stopped telling our analysts and information specialists what we wanted and started listening to what we actually needed, we began to have a different conversation and we found ourselves heading off in a different (better) direction. And you know that PHM world… that world that is a little scary? Well they’ve lived there, a longtime, but they didn’t call it PHM they called it analytical analysis or analytical modelling. Some of them actually trained in it!
People asked us how we developed our PHM programme, and the truth is, we used what we had, but we empowered them to act. We decided that maybe we didn’t know better, and maybe someone who’s been sat in the wings for years watching the trends, and following the data could give us more direction than anyone we could ever pay for. I’m not saying don’t use consultants, because we should always aspire to learn something new, and the minute we assume to know it all, is the minute we realise we know nothing.. But before we put our hands in those very deep and very empty pockets, maybe we open the cupboard door and let in a trusted, silent pair of hands that has been with us for a while. In Nottingham and Nottinghamshire we’ve produce a PHM methodology and with it number of PHM profiles (available on our website to view) and while we’ve sought the advice and guidance of other specialist experts, we did the majority of it ourselves with a team who’s been around for years!
There’s an old saying that you don’t know what you have until you’ve lost it! We didn’t lose our analytical skillset or experience, they are still there, waiting to be dusted down, empowered and invited to the PHM conversation… Go find yours…