The Chilmark Research blog had this to say about Cerner's recently announced acquisition of Siemens' EHR (see: Big Fish Swallows Another – Will it Choke?):
Much of that future value is likely found in Cerner’s rapidly growing PHM activities (HealtheIntent). One of our analysts just came back from Cerner’s PHM Summit last week and was truly impressed with how aggressive Cerner is moving on this front. There is a huge untapped PHM market among existing Cerner clients and now Siemens clients – potentially huge up-sell opportunities if Cerner does it right.
John's slant on one of the rationales for the Cerner purchase was interesting. I had posted my own opinion about it but was not aware of the HealthIntent product (see: Speculation about the Rationale for the Cerner Purchase of Siemens IT). Below is an excerpt from the Cerner discussion of HealthIntent (see: Cerner has a comprehensive vision for Population Health Management built on the HealtheIntent platform.)
HealtheIntent is a multi-purpose, programmable platform designed to scale at a population level while facilitating health and care at a person and provider level. This cloud-based platform enables health care systems to aggregate, transform and reconcile data across the continuum of care. A longitudinal record is established, through that process, for individual members of the population that the organization is held accountable for; helping to improve outcomes and lower costs for health and care.
Here is another excerpt of a discussion about the general topic of PHM (see: Population Health Management: A Roadmap for Provider-Based Automation in a New Era of Healthcare)
The goal of population health management (PHM) is to keep a patient population as healthy as possible, minimizing the need for expensive interventions such as emergency department visits, hospitalizations, imaging tests, and procedures. This not only lowers costs, but also redefines healthcare as an activity that encompasses far more than sick care. While PHM focuses partly on the high-risk patients who generate the majority of health costs, it systematically addresses the preventive and chronic care needs of every patient. Because the distribution of health risks changes over time, the objective is to modify the factors that make people sick or exacerbate their illnesses. Such an approach requires the use of automation. Not only are there not enough providers and care managers to manage every patient continuously, but PHM also involves a large number of routine tasks that do not have to be performed by human beings.
Driven, at least in part, by the emergence of accountable care organizations (ACOs) that are designed to manage large patient populations, there are now software packages like HealthIntent from Cerner designed to automate this task. My initial instinct was to wonder whether there was a real business need for this kind of software but I will reserve such judgements for now. Time will tell as to whether they are useful. I will readily concede that the design of most EHRs, like the paper chart that EHRs emulate, is to manage and optimize the care of individual patients. The second quote above notes that one of the primary goals of PHM software is to identify "high-risk patients" (i.e., often those with chronic diseases) who generate the lion's share of healthcare costs. The reason for focusing on these patients is to determine whether their cost of care can be reduced by proactively addressing their trajectory of care. In so doing, additional down-stream costs such as hospital readmissions can possibly be avoided.