Healthy Populations: Designing strategies to improve population health

healthy_populations_report-1The health of a population is influenced by a wide range of factors, most of which lie outside the healthcare system. This includes social, economic and environmental factors, as well as individuals’ behaviours.

Tackling the major health challenges facing populations across the globe – including the rise of chronic diseases and widening inequities in health requires co-ordinated action between different parts of society. Yet approaches to improving population health are typically fragmented and imbalanced towards healthcare services.

Discussed at the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) panel today, this report sets out a framework for developing new strategies to improve population health that join up healthcare systems with other services and sectors. It focuses both on what the strategy should cover and how to make it happen in practice.

Report focuswoman jogging in park at morning

The report sets out a framework for developing new strategies to improve population health that join up healthcare systems with other services and sectors. it focuses on what the strategy should cover and how to make it happen in practice.

Report insights

The report makes five recommendations for policymakers:

  • Understand the problem and set clear goals for improvement

Use a range of data and involve the public to understand the health of the population and different groups’ needs. Long-term goals for improvement should be established and measured. Data on impact should be collected in real time to support improvement.

  • Focus on all determinants of health, not just healthcare

Evidence from a variety of sources should be used to select interventions that will have impact. in some cases, this will mean reallocating resources from healthcare towards other areas.

  • Generate shared accountability for improving population health

Accountability for population health should be shared from national governments to communities and individuals. A combination of technical and relational approaches can be used, such as new financing models and developing shared leadership.

  • Empower people and communities and develop their capabilities

Many tools for improving population health lie in the hands of people and communities. These community assets should be identified, promoted and developed. Policies and interventions should be designed around things that matter to local people.

  • Embed health equity as a core part of a population health strategy

Take action to improve health equity at national and local levels, using targeted approaches. Health equity should be routinely measured and monitored, and seen as a key indicator of how healthy a population is.

Further Reading

Read the full report here.

Read all the WISH forum reports here.

About the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH)

WISH focuses on some of the most pressing global health challenges facing governments, health systems and populations. WISH brings together internationally renowned experts, who work with advisory groups to publish evidence-based reports on a range of healthcare topics each year.

Chaired by a team of experts drawn from academia, industry and policymaking, the WISH Forums look in depth at the challenges faced in each area – surveying the literature and interviewing experts in the field. The Forum reports present some of the very best innovations that have been shown to have real impact across the developed and the developing world.

During the Summit, the Forum reports will form the basis of a series of panel discussions hosted by leading experts. The Chair of each Forum will open the panel discussion, focusing on ways key issues can be tackled and considering some of the available innovations that might help.

For further information about WISH and previous conferences, visit their website.

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