Getting the Bigger Picture in Population Health

When it comes to ensuring the healthcare of an individual, leveraging data is helpful. But when we it comes to addressing the healthcare of whole communities that can range from a hundred to several billion people, harnessing every ounce of data is down-right essential. Still, the integration of data in population health still faces a number of hurdles. A recent article from Health Data Management touches upon some of the challenges. In this post, I extract and further explain this challenges and illustrate how they might be overcome.



Not all of the data needed for clients can be gathered from a quick office visit or simply by perusing a database. There are a lot of gaps in current databases and so the challenge there is in 1) determining what those gaps are and 2) addressing them.

For instance, determinants like access to clean water, access to good food, access to a gym, reliable climate control, and even whether or not someone has the right clothing to keep them warm enough when walking about town during winter are all factors that need to be considered. If a client doesn’t have access to any of the above, that will have an effect on the likelihood of them being admitted and/or readmitted to a hospital. Getting data in these fields will help providers increase the overall well-being of their patients by looking at care as something that transcends the hospital/clinic/office.

One example of a company that is looking to overcome this gap is Exlplorys. Working with 23 health systems that represent about 360 hospitals, Explorys’ database contains claims and clinical data on 55 million patients, which can in turn be utilized by clients to organize patient populations by risk.

evolvent health logo

Evolvent Health

Another company that is doing great work is Evolvent. Starting with work at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Evolvent now helps organize analytics for almost a million patients in 25 markets.

Companies like Explorys and Evolvent incorporate data from a variety of sources, including air quality data, census data, and real estate information, drivers’ license data, and credit scores. Indeed, the sky is (almost) the limit when it comes to where data is pulled from.

Population healthcare is about leveraging data to provide the best healthcare possible. To ensure that providers are providing the best healthcare possible, it would seem that no rock of data should be left unturned. Yet, as mentioned in a previous post, it’s not just a matter of gathering data–it’s about gathering relevant data.

I’ve already managed the Health Management News article above. But for more great information on this topic, check out