Population health is the health results of a group of people, which includes the dispersal of such outcomes in the group. It is an approach that focuses on improving health and well-being of the whole human population. This concept doesn’t refer to plant or animal populations and comprises of three key components: health outcomes, health determinant patterns, and interventions and policies.
Population health is a very diverse concept that encompasses not only the elimination of injuries and diseases but also the overlapping and intersecting factors that impact health. These factors include education, the environment, poverty, mobility, infrastructure, policy and governance, racism, technological access, urban planning and much more. When combined, these problems revolve around three key pillars – environmental resilience, human health, and economic and social equity –that affect the lives of billions around the globe.
Currently, the human role has been promoted by the influence of population growth, and there has been a rising interest shown by epidemiologists on the subject of inequality and its relation with populations. The relationship between health and socioeconomic status is robust, and it suggests that it isn’t only the poor members of the population who tend to fall sick when everyone else is healthy.
One method to enhance population health is via PMH (Population Health Management). PMH is the technical aspect of endeavor, which uses a range of cultural interventions and individual organizations to help improve the patterns of morbidity (injury burden and illnesses) and also the use of health care behavior of defined populations. This approach is different from disease management as it incorporates more chronic diseases and conditions and via predictive modeling throughout various clinical conditions.
Population health has been widely critiqued to be so broad as to include everything – and thus not very valuable when it comes to guiding specific policy or research. There is no single person in the private or public sectors who have the responsibility for the general health improvement. For instance, policy managers tend to be responsible for one sector while advocates focus on a single disease or another factor.
The inherent worth of a population health perspective is that enables incorporation of knowledge across the numerous factors that affect health and its outcomes. For research purposes of population health, particular investigations into a single factor, policy intervention or outcome measure are relevant, and might even be critical in certain instances – but they should be identified only as a part and not the whole.
What Challenges Do We Face?
Making significant enhancements in population health calls for disciplined, tenacious and innovative work. Different organizations are working towards population health, and follow the suggested roadmap to navigate the path.
-Setup precise patient registries
-Measure and monitor cost and clinical metrics
-Obtain external data
-Educate and engage with patients
-Adhere to and establish complex clinical practice guidelines
-Assess specific health outcomes