Population health is the aggregation of various approach to health care that determines the health outcome of a group of individuals (Nash, JoAnne, Fabius, & Pracilio, 2011). Population health brings together the total quality of health of individuals in the community, considering the disparities in cultures, socioeconomical status, demographics, etc. The outcome of health of individuals in a giving population is highly determined by the policies that govern the healthcare delivery and care interventions (Nash et al., 2011). The care interventions include health screening, promotion and prevention, disease management, and chronic care management (Nash et al., 2011). To improve safety and and eliminate health disparities in the population, it is important to improve the quality of care of individuals, and the community as a whole by creating awareness about disease, providing education and setting in place facilities to help treat such diseases early before it becomes chronic illness. These are all categorized under primary, secondary, and tertiary intervention.
According to Kindig, & Stoddart (2003), the concept and measurement of health and health outcomes focuses attention and research effort on the impact of each determinant and their interactions on some appropriate outcome, and it also allows one to consider health inequality and inequity and the distribution of health across subpopulations, as well as the ethical and value considerations underpinning these issues. Nash et al. (2011), the basic attributes of population health as follows:
Identified care provider
Interdiciplinary healthcare team members such as physical therapists, spech therapists, occupational therapists, social workers, etc
Knowledge and recognition of determinants of health and the impact on individuals and the population
Integration of the community systems with public health
Application of evidence-based practice to provide good quality, and cost effective care provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate care and health education Implementation of interoperable cross-sector health information technology Nash et al. (2011) defines health disparities as “difference in the incidence, prevalence, mortality, and the burden of diseases, as well as other adverse health conditions or outcomes that exists among specific population groups, and have well-documents in subpopulations based on socioeconomic status, education, age, race and ethnicity, geography, disability, sexual orientation,, or special needs”.
Disparities in healthcare can lead to high mortality and morbidity rates. It can also lead to low quality of life (Nash et al., 2011). It is important to recognize the impact that social determinants have on health outcomes of specific populations and strive to improve the health of all groups. Population health has opened the eyes of the government and other private sectors to the disparities in population health, and these bodies have come together to improve the healthcare system of the country.
Over the years, efforts to eliminate disparities and achieve health equity have focused primarily on diseases or illnesses and on health care services. During the past 2 decades, 1 of Healthy People’s overarching goals has focused on disparities. In Healthy People 2000, it was to reduce health disparities among Americans. In Healthy People 2010, it was to eliminate, not just reduce, health disparities. In Healthy People 2020, that goal was expanded even further: to achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups (Nash et al, 2011).
Kindig, D., & Stoddart, G. (2003). What is population health? Am J Public Health. 93(3): 80-383
Nash, D., B., Reifsnyder, J., Fabius, R., J., & Pracilio, V. P. (2011). Population health: Creating a culture of wellness. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC