Leveraging electronic medical record data for population health management in the Veterans Health Administration: Successes and lessons learned

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PurposeThe process and operational elements to establish a population health program using electronic medical record data in a Veterans Health Administration region are described.SummaryPharmacists are uniquely qualified to assume important roles in population health through the use of their clinical knowledge, assisted by electronic tools that consolidate and report patient-specific data for clinical care. Veterans Integrated Services Network (VISN) 21 has developed 300 dashboards and reports to improve the quality, safety, and value of healthcare to veterans. Within a group of specialty task forces, physicians, nurses, and pharmacists assist in the design and development of evidence-based tools to leverage timely electronic health information into metrics, benchmarks, and targets to assist with goal achievement. Examples of programs designed to improve care in 3 areas were selected for further description and review of outcomes. Population health improvement using Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set and hepatitis C metrics were used to describe populations that may have an indication for evidence-based care but are not receiving it. Deprescribing efforts are described, as are medication safety monitoring efforts to prevent potential adverse events known to be associated with therapy.ConclusionQuality, safety, and value outcomes are the measures of success for population health programs in VISN 21. Data-rich project dashboards and reports are developed by pharmacist data analysts and implemented and used by teams of clinicians who provide continuous feedback and support to improve population health. The use of task forces, metrics, benchmarks, targets, and teams is instrumental in the successful application of these tools.

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