In this session, we will consider how organizations, including healthcare systems and public health institutions, promote the health and well-being of entire patient populations by addressing problems that impact large numbers of people. We will readdress topics that were introduced in week 1, including thinking broadly about what constitutes “health” and how we can address some of the social determinants of health. In order to do this, we need to define “population health” and understand what is meant by this term.
In addition, this session focuses on the “Triple Aim.” The Triple Aim involves three goals that are critical to improving the health of populations, whether here in the United States or elsewhere:
- Improving the individual experience of care.
- Reducing the per capita costs of care for populations.
- Improving the health of populations.
- READ this article to learn more about population health and its terminology: Understanding Population Health Terminology, by David A. Kindig
- This reading is intended to help students gain further detail on population health terminology and distinctions between population medicine at the clinic level and public health focused on larger populations.
- Watch this video
Key Take Home Points:
- Remember the World Health Organization definition of health we learned in Week 1: Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
- Remember the definition of public health from Week 1: Public health is the science and the art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and organized community efforts to prevent, identify, preempt, and counter threats to the public’s health.
- Population health aims to address health disparities and improve health outcomes for the entire population of a specific geographic area.
- Population medicine aims to address health disparities and improve health outcomes for the population served by a given care provider (clinic, hospital, etc.).
- Both public and population health efforts rely on data that may often be limited; physicians can help improve public health data by reporting patient outcomes as required by law.
- All physicians can contribute in some way to health improvements at the population level by supporting public and population health programs