Population health is rightly front and centre of the healthcare and quality space at the moment, as people are evolving how best to work across organisations to improve patient outcomes.
Population Health: for a healthier future
Population health looks at the distribution of health outcomes of a group of individuals – whether linked geographically within a group, or by communities. The King’s Fund describes population health thus: ‘Today the phrase ‘population health’ is used to convey a way of conceiving health that is wider still. It includes the whole range of determinants of health and wellbeing – many of which, such as town planning or education, are quite separate from health services.”
This supports the theory that population health can help shape care planning across multiple organisations, as one of the main aims of population health is to generate a sense of responsibility across multiple organisations, not just those involved in public health per se. This is an area that those working in Quality Improvement may well be familiar with.
There is a range of helpful resources around population health which you may find useful in the pursuit of better patient outcomes and that help continue the conversation around multi-organisational working, while encouraging people to think involve other stakeholders in their population health journey.
IHI's Population Health Framework
The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) has created a ‘Pathways for Population Health’ framework, which strongly supports the idea of working with other stakeholders across the community. The IHI has also recently launched a population health community action community, which builds on their Pathways to Population Health framework. The community aims to bring together health care delivery organisations whose common goal is the pursuit of population health, well-being, and equity. The Improving Population Health Action Community helps participating organisations and their community partners adapt to meet the changing needs of their communities.
The King's Fund Population Health System
The Kings Fund has a strong focus on population health and how to use it to get better patient outcomes. In its 2018 report ‘Vision for Population Health’ the King’s Fund talks about how population health will be a key focus of its ongoing work. In the report they look at population health and their reasoning behind the need for population health - as well as setting out ways to achieve it. Their overarching thinking is that to reduce health inequalities ‘we need to move away from a system just focused on diagnosing and treating illness towards one that is based on promoting wellbeing and preventing ill health.’ They call for ambitious goals at local, regional and local levels in order to promote integrated care.
The Health Foundation: Using economic development to improve population health
Likewise, the Health Foundation, in their September 2020 publication ‘Using economic development to improve health and reduce health inequalities’, sets out how inclusive economies that support social cohesion, equity and participation can help support people’s health and wellbeing. With a focus on Public Health, the Health Foundation looks to improve the health of the population through prevention rather than treatment of disease.
Here are Life QI we are working in the population health space with healthcare organisations tackling improvement challenges, using our technology to help facilitate multi-agency working. A lot of organisations use Life QI to run and manage internal improvement projects, and we are now working on a number of projects which work across organisations to help improve patient outcomes.
The very essence of population health is about collaborating and working across organisations with a common goal and aim – talk to us to find out more about how we can help you in your population health journey.