To support health care professionals with the development and deployment of care management initiatives, ThinkMed offers a new on-line resource. LINKMED in fact is a compilation of more than 125 Web sites that serve as valuable resources for planning, implementing and/or evaluating care management programmes and strategy. The different sites are grouped by categories including: health & medical supersites, disease- and condition specific resources, government sites, associations/conference opportunities, the business of health care, and trade publications.
ThinkMed has set up LINKMED with many users in mind, which range from medical directors and care management administrators to front-line case and disease managers, as Warwick Charlton, MD, ThinkMed's vice president of clinical design and development explains. The aim is to offer a one-stop shopping medical management resource in order to support patient education, clinical decision-making, professional development and strategic planning. The current offering is only a start, since LINKMED plans to add new sites based upon input from its users. Dr. Charlton continues that his team eagerly welcomes the opportunity to link to sites that are considered to be of value by industry insiders.
LINKMED is also intended to advance the industry's collective understanding and advancement of population health management. As such, the ThinkMed team designs population health management software that identifies, profiles and stratifies patients who are at risk for clinical deterioration, for financial escalation and/or increased utilization. ThinkMed links the disparate data-claims, pharmaceutical, demographic, provider and other information into a patient-centric, multi-dimensional relational database and uses its medically intelligent logic to "interpret" the data in a clinically meaningful way. The logic is a series of "rules", consisting of thousands of physician-written database queries, that "flag" patients who may benefit from planned and/or targeted interventions.
Care management professionals apply ThinkMed Expert for ready desktop access to this centralized data. User-defined querying provides both patient-specific and population views of the data. This facility allows a clinical user to search, analyse and filter the data in limitless ways, like for instance by disease category, comorbidity, severity, level of risk, employer group, and so on. With this capability, an organization will able to better understand and anticipate its population's health needs in order to strategically implement proactive and appropriately targeted interventions, such as case and disease management, and education/prevention programmes.
ThinkMed spokesman Palin claims that by putting the focus on the issue of care management, the medical industry is taking a logical step in the search for new ways to reduce costs while improving quality of care. Many forces are now converging in health care, according to Palin, who enumerates the huge cost pressures, the risk shifting, the overall development of outcomes-based care standards and the rapid deployment of information technology. It is this convergence that will transition the industry from the conventional managed care model to a new patient-centric population health management model, that resembles vertically integrated manufacturing. The very foundation of medicine is changing.