Faces Details

Michael Barbouche

Michael Barbouche

Founder & CEO

Forward Health Group

Q&A with

What is the most pressing challenge(s) facing providers today?

The health care industry is making the shift from fee-for-service to value-based care. Gone are the days where doctors can see as many patients as they can squeeze in on any given day. Caregivers and health care organizations are now compensated for improving health outcomes rather than the volume of patients that come through the door. That’s hard to do if the data isn’t right. And that’s what we do – help our clients make the most of their data, use it to improve outcomes.

How is Forward Health Group best supporting customers/clients with these challenges?

Imagine being a doctor who requested a list of his or her patients and you’ve waited several weeks, if not months, to get it. And, when you finally do get it, it’s completely wrong—these are not your patients. You can’t make any decisions on care, have nothing to work with and must go back to the drawing board. FHG’s product, PopulationManager®, ends the frustration of physicians needing to go through analysts to get usable information by giving them the tools to make unlimited data queries and get accurate patient information in real time to make better-informed decisions when caring for a patient. It means they can determine who their most at-risk patients are, who the outliers are, who they need to see in order improve quality outcomes.

Imagine you’re a system/hospital administrator and you want to compare how different locations are doing or how individual physicians are stack up. PopulationManager provides the ability for you to see which teams are setting the standard for improvement. And you will know which locations are performing well and where there is need for improvement.

Navigating the challenges of shared-risk contracts, performance incentives and new compensation models requires physician buy-in and data they can trust. That’s where FHG comes in.

How does Forward Health Group benefit from membership with eHI?

Forward Health Group benefits from belonging to eHealth Initiative because our goals are the same – figure out how use of health data and analytics improves care and reduces costs. Being part of the eHI community extends our reach, helps us do what we can to fix health care.

Where do you see the future of healthcare? What does the future of healthcare look like?

The next ten or twenty years will see radical changes in US health care. Think of how mainstream information technology has changed since the 1980s. Plenty, right? Health care is finally going to go a similar revolution, albeit slowly. Using the vast oceans of health data we’re creating every day to empower patients and docs will make a huge difference in ways we cannot yet foresee. Exciting stuff.

Finish this sentence: It might surprise people to know that...

...aside from being Epic’s home town, Madison WI is a huge hotbed of health IT. Health care’s future is being invented here.


Michael Barbouche is the Founder and CEO of Forward Health Group, a population health company based in Madison, Wisconsin. A mathematician formally trained in health services research, he has over twenty years of health care experience, with an acute focus on data. Applying the principles of set theory, he has invented new data models for the health care industry that maximize the harvest and yield of clinical results, regardless of health IT infrastructure.
A frequent advisor on health care data strategy, Michael has demonstrated that any quest for lower costs / higher quality must begin with a denominator. Michael owes most of what he knows about health care to his wife, Ellen, a general internist in practice at the University of Wisconsin. They live in Madison with their three great kids.