Population health management system vendor ZeOmega announced this morning that it has acquired HealthUnity, which offers private and public HIE, MPI, referral management, and patient consent interoperability solutions. ZeOmega says the combined products will form a low-cost PHM infrastructure that overcomes EHR interoperability issues and allows payers and providers to drive value-based care.

I discussed the acquisition ahead of the announcement with Nandini Rangaswamy, co-founder, EVP, and chief strategy officer of ZeOmega.

Vendors of EHRs, HIE platforms, and population health management systems are all addressing population health management and analytics and insurance companies have acquired some big HIE and PHM players. What does the competitive landscape look like from ZeOmega’s perspective?

Hundreds of EMR, analytics, and HIE companies are trying to make a name in population health management, but they’re viewing PHM too narrowly. Competitors have some ingredients, but ZeOmega has an end-to-end strategy, anchored by what we call five pillars of PHM that includes the ability to drive an effective PHM program design and governance, aggregate data on the patient across the care continuum and all care settings, derive actionable insights from this data, enable effective real-time care coordination with those insights, and the ability to educate, engage and empower patients.

Acquiring HealthUnity lets ZeOmega close gaps in interoperability and patient resolution to become the industry’s first end-to-end PHM solution. So it’s my perspective that no other company can compete with our comprehensive offerings. That said, we will be competing with other companies who only have solutions for part of the care continuum. We’re so focused on doing what’s right for our clients, most of all eliminating information barriers to achieve real value-based care, so we probably will end up collaborating with come competitors’ solutions. We won’t shy away from that if it means enhancing value for our clients.

How do claims and psychosocial data fit into the set of information providers need to review a patient’s healthcare status?

In absence of interoperability, claims data can tell us about a patient’s health and their care-seeking and care-adherence behaviors. Psychosocial data can be used to determine factors that help influence and therefore predict patient behavior and outcomes. Analytics solutions that consider these variables can better predict the recommended course of action for the provider, which translates to more efficient use of provider resources while maximizing opportunities to impact patient health.

It’s easier to use an example. Let’s say a patient is being admitted for bypass surgery. Claims data can show if the patient has multiple co-morbidities, is taking multiple medications, or has a prior diagnosis of diabetes or a history of depression. Good analytics processes this data and identifies the patient as high-risk for readmission and hospital associated infections, perhaps even ICU psychosis, and may recommend …read more