Profiling the different needs and expectations of patients for population-based medicine: a case study using segmentation analysis
University-based researchers in Manitoba, Canada, have used administrative data routinely collected as part of the national health insurance plan to design a population-based health information system (POPULIS). Decision-makers can use this system to make critical comparisons across regions of residents' health status, socioeconomic risk characteristics, and use of hospitals, nursing homes, and physicians. Policy makers have found this information system useful in providing answers to questions they are often asked: Which populations need more physician services? Which need fewer? Are high-risk populations poorly served or do they have poor health outcomes despite being well served? Does high utilization represent overuse or is it related to high need? Three commentaries follow.