Population health

Put simply, population health means the health outcomes of a defined group of people, as well as the distribution of health outcomes within the group.

Source: The King’s Fund. What does improving population health really mean? 21 April 2017. https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/what-does-improving-population-health-mean

Example of the term in use:

We support the idea that a hallmark of the field of population health is significant attention to the multiple determinants of such health outcomes, however measured. These determinants include medical care, public health interventions, aspects of the social environment (income, education, employment, social support, culture) and of the physical environment (urban design, clean air and water), genetics, and individual behavior. We note with caution that such a list of categories can lead to a view that they operate independently; population health research is fundamentally concerned about the interactions between them, and we prefer to refer to “patterns” of determinants.

Kindig D, Stoddart G (2003) What Is Population Health? Am J Public Health 93(3): 380-383. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447747/


Population healthcare

Population healthcare focuses primarily on populations defined by a common need which may be a symptom such as breathlessness, a condition such as arthritis or a common characteristic such as frailty in old age, not on institutions, or specialties or technologies. Its aim is to maximise value for those populations and the individuals within them … .

Source: Gray M (2017) Population healthcare: the third dimension. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine 0(0): 1-3. DOI: 10.1177/0141076817691024

Two examples of the term in use:

The aim of population healthcare is to maximise value and equity … .

Public Health England cited in Gray M (2016) Population healthcare: a new clinical responsibility. J R Soc Med 109(12): 437-438. doi: 10.1177/0141076816679770

What is needed is a population-based approach remembering always that the other side of the coin from population healthcare is personalized care.

Gray M, Matthews R, Thomas K (2017) A population-based approach to end of life care and advance care planning. Chapter 27. In Thomas K. Lobo B, Detering K, Advance Care Planning in End of Life Care. 2nd edition. Page 296.

Population health management

Multiple, disparate definitions for population health management abound. Yet, population health management should be defined the same way public health was defined years ago by C.-E.A. Winslow, founder of the Yale Department of Public Health, as:

“the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private communities, and individuals.”

Source: Health Catalyst. https://www.healthcatalyst.com/population-health/

… population health management. What is it?

Basically an effort to describe a systematic, whole population focus to improving the management of risks in a population.

[It] May be described by geography, by presenting health need, communities or pops [sic] of interest but certainly not in a service orientated way. We won’t make much progress if we act with institutional approaches.

Source: Fell G (2017) Five capabilities for population health management. December 14, 2017. https://gregfellpublichealth.wordpress.com/2017/12/14/capabilities-for-population-health-management/

Two examples of the term in use:

population health management focused on individuals has a place (for example, through ‘making every contact count’), but needs to be underpinned and complemented by interventions designed to tackle the underlying social, economic and environmental determinants of health across populations … .

Alderwick H, Ham C, Buck D (2015) Population Health Systems. Going beyond integrated care. February 2015. Page 5. The King’s Fund. https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/sites/default/files/field/field_publication_file/population-health-systems-kingsfund-feb15.pdf

Berkshire West’s approach to population health management will ensure it is better placed to understand the needs of the local population as a whole and identify those most at risk of chronic disease, such as diabetes or heart disease, so that appropriate care can be offered as early as possible.

NHS England (no date) Integrated Care. Integrated Care Systems. Berkshire West. Looking ahead. https://www.england.nhs.uk/integratedcare/integrated-care-systems/berkshire-west-ics/looking-ahead/