HIMSS15 Trade Show Vendor Highlight: Forward Health Group

In this series, we are featuring some of the thousands of vendors who will be participating in the HIMSS15 conference and trade show. Through it, we hope to offer readers a closer look at some of the solution providers who will either be in attendance – with a booth showcasing and displaying key products and offerings – or that will have a presence of some kind at the show – key executives in attendance or presenting, for example.

Hopefully this series will give you a bit more useful information about the companies that help make this event, and the industry as a whole, so exciting.

Elevator Pitch

Forward Health Group provides data and analytics services through PopulationManager, a web-based engine that leverages an organization’s existing technology and data from any source — EHR, claims, labs and more — to identify gaps in care for patient populations critical to practice and quality improvement teams. Any data. Any EHR. Any vendor. Any format. Even the really messy stuff.

About Statement

Forward Health Group was founded in 2009 and has since become the go-to health data and analytics partner for leading health care providers and organizations including The Guideline Advantage, an alliance of the American Cancer Society, the American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association. Large integrated systems and small, high-performing specialty clinics use Forward Health Group’s PopulationManager to identify and assess risk and drive meaningful, measurable improvements in their patient populations.

Founder’s Story

Michael Barbouche is a mathematician trained in health services with more than 20 years experience slogging through messy disparate data of all sorts. In 2004, Michael was tapped to help build a system to collect and analyze patient data for the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (WCHQ), an ongoing initiative that publicly reports on healthcare quality and affordability in the state, based on information shared by healthcare providers, insurers, and other stakeholders. Add his wife, a frustrated internist at a major health system who couldn’t get an accurate patient list to work from, and the rest is history.

Market Opportunity

The healthcare industry is moving from a fee-based model to value-based health care, which requires metrics on managing the health of populations. Population health management only works if the data is accurate and trusted by care teams.

Services and Products Offered

Forward Health Group enables health care teams and systems to drive outcomes by giving them the tools to:

Problem Solved

Unlocking and giving access to data that care teams can trust.

Continue Reading

Interpreting Healthcare Data: Start with a Good Denominator

Michael Barbouche
Michael Barbouche

Guest post by Michael Barbouche, founder and CEO, Forward Health Group.

As clearly identified in the PCAST Report on Health Information Technology (2011), and as echoed in the recent GAO report Electronic Health Record Programs — Participation Has Increased, but Action Needed to Achieve Goals Including Improved Quality of Care (2014), healthcare continues to have a data problem. The country has invested significantly to advance EHR adoption.

In simpler terms, healthcare data is messy and makes for building of accurate, actionable metadata a problem. It’s clear that the next generation of standards that are being developed by the numerous committees and acronyms and professional societies tackling measure development, harmonization and testing will now need to address the relevance of each measure.

More than a decade ago, a coalition of purchasers, payers and providers came together across Wisconsin to form the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality (www.wchq.org). Groundbreaking initiatives like Get with the Guidelines, Leapfrog and JCAHO  revealed that “quality” and “healthcare” could be used in the same sentence (or displayed on a website). These efforts were largely inpatient-focused. Measurement in the outpatient setting, long considered the keystone of payment reform, was an unsolved riddle. WCHQ, at the urging of the IOM, IHI and others accepted the challenge of tackling performance in the ambulatory arena.

At the direction of some very engaged employers, and with input from most of the state’s payers, WCHQ was charged with one very simple goal — apples to apples quality measurement, regardless of health IT infrastructure. The focus had to include both processes of care and outcomes. Oh, and if health systems didn’t have any health IT in place, data still needed to be included for these groups in the measurement effort. What transpired over an 18-month period was remarkable. With unwavering support from administrative and clinical leadership, health systems rolled up their sleeves and dug into their very messy data. Each Monday, we would devise a fiendish list of new tasks to be completed in the next four business days.

Continue Reading