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The population-health definition disconnect

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Amy Compton-Phillips, M.D., writes in NEJM Catalyst that one of the problems associated with implementing population programs is disagreement over what the term “population health” really means. This leads to mixed and uncertain support for the very concept of population-health management.

She writes: “While executives and clinical leaders believe it is the future path to better care delivery, frontline physicians feel that population health implies a focus on broad interventions aimed at public health, at the expense of the highly personalized care that Americans expect — care centered on their individual needs, values, and preferences.

“This fundamental disconnect in views seems rooted in the ways different constituents define population health. Executives and clinical leaders view the concept as a financial construct — the way that the healthcare system will actually move from volume to value. They focus on paying primary care for the efficacy of preventive care, as measured by reliable primary and secondary prevention metrics, or on creating a medical home with accountability and risk for a defined population. For healthcare executives, population health is all about the money flow and the metrics that evidence-based guidelines say the system should be providing reliably.”

To read her essay, please hit this link.


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