July 14, 2024
Global Patient Risk Stratification

Patient Risk Stratification: Global Patient Risk Stratification Improving Healthcare Outcomes through Personalized Care

Risk stratification is a process used in healthcare to segment patient populations into different risk levels based on factors that could impact their health outcomes and medical costs. By classifying patients according to their risk levels, providers can better prioritize high-risk individuals for disease management programs, screenings, and interventions aimed at improving care coordination and preventing costly medical events. This personalized approach to care delivery allows resources to be focused where they are needed most.

Key Factors in Patient Risk Stratification

When conducting Patient Risk Stratification, healthcare organizations typically examine a variety of clinical, social, and behavioral factors that provide insight into a patient’s overall health risks and medical needs. Some of the most common criteria considered include:

Chronic Conditions

Provider review medical histories to identify any chronic illnesses patients have, such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma or cancer. The more chronic conditions a person has, the higher their overall health risk is likely to be. Tracking chronic conditions helps ensure patients receive appropriate treatment and preventive care.

Claims and Utilization Data

Information from medical claims, pharmacy records and hospital utilization rates give insight into patients’ past healthcare usage. Frequent emergency room visits or hospitalizations typically correlate with a higher risk of future medical costs and events. Patterns of claims data are analyzed to predict ongoing needs.

Diagnostic Screenings and Test Results

Clinical screening outcomes, lab results and imaging tests provide objective measures of health factors like blood pressure, cholesterol levels and organ function. Abnormal test values that indicate an increased likelihood of disease or complications increase a patient’s medical risk profile.

Social Determinants

Non-clinical factors like income level, access to transportation, education, family/social support systems and neighborhood environment influence people’s health as much as medical care. Understanding social determinants flags patients who may need extra assistance managing their conditions.

Lifestyle Risks

Self-reported data on indicators like tobacco use, diet, physical activity, alcohol consumption and compliance with medication/treatment regimens identify behavioral risks that impact health. Modifying risky behaviors can help lower medical risks over time.

Risk Scores and Algorithms

Many healthcare organizations use computerized risk scoring tools and predictive modeling algorithms to quantify patient health risks based on statistical analyses of their aggregated clinical data against population norms. Proprietary systems may utilize different clinical factors and weighting methods to derive individual risk level values.

Stratifying Patients into Risk Groups

Once all pertinent clinical information has been collected and assessed according to the above criteria, patients can be stratified into predefined risk level categories that dictate their care management needs. Common segmentation schemes include:

High-Risk Patients

Individuals with complex medical issues, multiple chronic conditions, high healthcare costs/utilization rates or poor health/lifestyle factors that place them at very high risk for adverse events are placed in a high-risk tier. These patients require intensive care coordination and disease management.

Rising-Risk Patients

Those demonstrating worsening conditions, non-adherence to treatment, lack of primary care follow up or new/increasing social risks that could propel future health risks are considered rising risk. Early intervention aims to support these patients before their needs escalate.

Low-to-Moderate Risk Patients

Generally healthy individuals with well-controlled chronic diseases and minimal service utilization are low risk but still benefit from primary/preventive care, lifestyle counseling and monitoring for potential risk increases over time.

Healthy/Non-Users of Healthcare

Asymptomatic patients seeking routine/preventive care or not accessing services present minimal risks if their statuses remain unchanged. Basic health promotion helps keep this group healthy or identify emerging risks promptly.

Advancing Personalized Care with Risk Stratification

By segmenting patient groups according to meaningful risk definitions tailored to their organizations’ specific populations and resources, healthcare systems gain valuable tools for targeted care management:

– Higher-risk patients receive proactive outreach from dedicated care coordination teams for comprehensive monitoring, Self-management education and treatment plan adjustments.

– Rising-risk cases are flagged early for risk-reduction programs addressing social/behavioral issues aggravating clinical conditions pre-emptive of future deterioration.

– Low-to-moderate risk groups access tiered care through alternate access points like telehealth, pharmacist counseling or self-guided digital health tools.

– Healthy patients benefit from low-touch health promotion strategies incurred minimal costs to maintain wellness.

– Resource allocation is optimized concentrating intensive interventions/specialists where risks and costs are most concentrated.

– Continuous risk reassessments dynamically reroute patients’ care needs according to status changes avoiding mismatched levels of care.

When implemented effectively with data-driven criteria, global risk stratification personalizes population health strategies improving care coordination, clinical outcomes and lowering spending from avoidable acute utilization for at-risk groups. It has become a fundamental function in managing 21st century healthcare delivery.

*Note:
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it

About Author - Ravina Pandya

Ravina Pandya, Content Writer, has a strong foothold in the market research industry. She specializes in writing well-researched articles from different industries, including food and beverages, information and technology, healthcare, chemical and materials, etc. With an MBA in E-commerce, she has an expertise in SEO-optimized content that resonates with industry professionals.  LinkedIn Profile

About Author - Ravina Pandya

Ravina Pandya,  Content Writer, has a strong foothold in the market research industry. She specializes in writing well-researched articles from different industries, including food and beverages, information and technology, healthcare, chemical and materials, etc. With an MBA in E-commerce, she has an expertise in SEO-optimized content that resonates with industry professionals.  LinkedIn Profile

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