Population measurement for health systems

Bruce R. Schatz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


How can health systems make good use of digital medicine? For healthcare infrastructure, the answer is population measurement, monitoring people to compute status for clustering cohorts. In chronic care, most effective is measuring all the time, to track health status as it gradually changes. Passive monitors run in the background, without additional tasks to activate monitors, especially on mobile phones. At its core, a health system is a “sorting problem”. Each patient entering the system must be effectively sorted into treatment cohorts. Health systems have three primary problems: Case Finding (which persons have which diagnoses), Risk Stratification (which persons are which status), and Care Routing (which persons need which treatments). The issue is then which measures can be continuously monitored at appropriate periodicity. The solutions of population measurement measure vital signs with passive monitors. These are input to predictive analytics to detect clinical values for providing care within health systems. For chronic care, complex vitals must be measured for overall status, such as oxygen saturation or gait speed. This enables healthcare infrastructure to support stratification, with persons placed into current levels of health status. Practical considerations for health systems influence implementation of new infrastructure. Case finding is more likely to be useful in urban settings, with barriers to entry based upon lower incomes. Care routing is more likely to be useful in rural settings, with barriers to entry based upon isolated geographies. Viable healthcare at acceptable quality and affordable cost is now possible for the range of geographies and incomes.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20174
Journalnpj Digital Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018


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