PRISM Population Health

The term “population health” is much more widely used now than in 2003 when the definition was: “the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group.”  While the traditional population health definition is often linked to geographic populations, a  newer term such as population health management describes activities focused on clinical populations (e.g., patients with high blood pressure or diabetes, pediatric or geriatric populations) or a set of health outcome determinants (e.g., improving health disparities).  At a population level, pharmacists can work with clinicians and informatics leaders in health systems, ACOs, and practice groups to assure that medications are appropriate, effective, safe, and cost-effective. By analyzing medication use patterns and patient outcomes data, pharmacists can generate actionable reports of patients who are not receiving appropriate therapies, not at therapeutic goals with current medication regimens, and patients on medications that require more frequent monitoring or are suitable for follow-up evaluations by a pharmacist in-between physician office visits.  Pharmacists may also be involved in population health activities such as developing medication safety policies and procedures, identifying needs for new or expanded chronic care management programs, collaborating with quality improvement staff on educational programs, or working with information technology staff to enhance documentation and reporting of patient medication-related data.

Publications in this area include:

Smith M.  Pharmacists’ role in public and population health. Ann Public Health Res. July 2014; 1(2): 1006-8.