The essential role of population health during and beyond COVID-19

Am J Manag Care. 2021 Mar;27(3):123-128. doi: 10.37765/ajmc.2021.88511.


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has fundamentally changed how health care systems deliver services and revealed the tenuousness of care delivery based on face-to-face office visits and fee-for-service reimbursement models. Robust population health management, fostered by value-based contract participation, integrates analytics and agile clinical programs and is adaptable to optimize outcomes and reduce risk during population-level crises. In this article, we describe how mature population health programs in a learning health system have been rapidly leveraged to address the challenges of the pandemic. Population-level data and care management have facilitated identification of demographic-based disparities and community outreach. Telemedicine and integrated behavioral health have ensured critical primary care and specialty access, and mobile health and postacute interventions have shifted site of care and optimized hospital utilization. Beyond the pandemic, population health can lead as a cornerstone of a resilient health system, better prepared to improve public health and mitigate risk in a value-based paradigm.

PMID:33720669 | DOI:10.37765/ajmc.2021.88511