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Complete Job Description of a Population Health Manager
By Contributing Editor

A Population Health Manager, also known as a PHM, focuses mainly on individual patient care. The primary purpose is to improve the health outcomes of a group by monitoring and identifying individual patients within that group; usually based on medical conditions, age, and location. PHM professionals create programs that can complete tasks like aggregating data to providing a complete clinical picture of each individual client. By using data like these, the providers then can easily track the results of care. It may also lower the cost of patient care to those they serve over time by proving the need for funding from philanthropic organizations like from the Gates Foundation and others.

The Duties and Objectives a Population Health manager

One critical skill of a PHM is clinical proficiency. This means learning to identify and address care gaps within the patient population, especially in communities with chronic illnesses and diseases. The Population Health Managers also administer care management programs. One purpose of case management programs is to assist patients in the self-management of medications to reduce the cost of re-admission rates. Population Health managers use IT solutions to understand outcomes from their data that is collected.  The collection and analysis of the data, helps PHM’s make recommendations based on what the evidence shows. The information sometimes comes from either laboratory, billing, or the health record of the patient. Some other duties are running clinical trials for research and diagnostics studies. Overall, the job will keep professionals busy in finding new trends and research for the healthcare industry.

A population health manager needs experience in data collection and interpretation of data, know computer technology, and have a keen understanding of the healthcare industry. Prospective job seekers should have some administrative role or clinical background when applying for the position. As far as education degrees, a master’s degree in Health Informatics is needed for anyone hoping to get a position as a Population Health Manager. Health Informatics combines tech skills with healthcare information. However, some employers look for applicants with a Master’s degree in Biomedical Science or Biomedicine, as well. With a degree in biomedical science, one could work as a forensic scientist, health biologist, or even an environmental engineer. The options are endless.  

Where is the Job Market for a Population Health Manager?

The most influential jobs are found working with Healthcare providers, Health insurance companies and sometimes nonprofit healthcare facilities. Others may find employment in hospitals, medical groups, and diagnostic centers. Finding work at colleges and universities in the forensic department is a good way to get started with this career path. Some examples are the Mayo Clinic, healthcare IT services, and market research firms. The average pay salary is about $109,000 annually, according to the BLS. A Market research firm suggests that the population health management market is expected to witness the highest growth in the Asia-Pacific region. Choosing this field, along with an interest in far-east studies and Asian-Pacific languages like Chinese or Japanese may yield the most employment options for graduates. Those interested in helping the population understand where diseases come from and promote health and disease prevention through the advent of technology are best suited for the role of Population Health Managers.