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IHI Offers New Guidance on Population Health

A new report from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement offers guidance for hospitals and health systems on how to define and approach population health.

The report, entitled “Watch-Outs”: Potential Population Health Pitfalls and How to Avoid Them, outlines five tips—or “watch-outs”— for improving population health:

  • Cast a wide net for leaders — look both inside and outside of the C-suite;
  • Think populations, not projects — no one project will be able to improve the overall health for a population or increase life expectancy;
  • A new project might not be necessary — examine work already being done first;
  • Assemble a team to tackle population health, rather than creating a single new position to oversee efforts; and
  • Good planning is not all you need—remember the importance of testing changes and measuring results over time.

According to the report, these “watch-outs” can apply to any action that aims to proactively improve community wellbeing. Learning from past successes and challenges can allow for more efficient population health initiatives in the future, the report notes.

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About the Author

Madeline White is a research assistant at America's Essential Hospitals.

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