Nurses are a crucial part of population health management– an industry-wide initiative to transition from reactive patient care to an approach that forecasts needs and enhances outcomes. Population health management places an emphasis on patients that are considered “high risk”, and nurses rely on technology to identify and analyze the most pressing health needs of these population groups.
As nurses become more and more involved in population health management, the exchange of information electronically will become essential. Population health management requires that information about primary care practices, preventative services, home care and outpatient care be accessible by the various organizations at any time.
Especially critical to population health management is patient-centered medical home, or PCMH. PCMH offers team-based care that is coordinated by primary care providers and nurses who function as care managers and data analysts. By using electronic medical records (EMRs), nurses can look across patient populations, sort by specific characteristics and measure progress in real-time.
As a nursing student, it’s important to find a niche that speaks to you. If you pride yourself on your analytical skills and forecasting future trends and coming up with solutions and possible outcomes sounds interesting, a career in population health management may be in your future.