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Kicking off the Special Interest Group Population Health Management– how can the scaling up of innovative success stories be supported?


Oliver Groene


Why a special interest group on Population Health Management? Context, aims and objectives. In the past the responsibilities for health care services provision and public health have largely been seen as separate functions of the health system. This was rooted in the evolution trajec-tories of both functions, one dealing with an increasingly effective array of services for the curative treatment of individuals and the other addressing collective responsibilities targeting _classic_ public health functions (e.g. immunization and environmental health risk reduction) and _new_ public health functions (e.g. a focus on health-related behaviour and the social de-terminants of health). Both functions have contributed to increasing life expectancy and im-proving health-related quality of life. Addressing the current and future health system chal-lenges characterized by the burden of chronic diseases and an ageing population; however, requires a better alignment of care provision and public health: the main risk factors of dis-ease and disability in developed countries (such as hypertension, tobacco, alcohol misuse, high body mass index, low physical activity) are amenable to a range of health care and pub-lic health interventions that require a coordinated effort across the health system.

Thus, a common element of recent health system innovations is the link between integrated care provision and public health functions, culminating in strategies to improve population health. Population health, defined as “the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group” (Kindig D & Stoddard G, American Journal of Public Health 2003), implies a co-responsibility of the health care and public health system to reach the shared aim of health improvement. Examples of such innovations include Kaiser Permanente in the USA, the integrated care pioneers and vanguards in the UK, the Alzira care model in Spain, the experience of Gesundes Kinzigtal in Germany, or the population health approach in Jönköping Council in Sweden.

Common to these models is the shared responsibility for integrated care provision and population health, the use of innovative approaches to management, and improvement strategies supported by health data analytics. The key question is now: can the excellent results of these innovators be translated to other systems and be scaled up to address larger populations? Moreover, which factors need to be considered in this process (such as population health structures and demographic profiles, baseline performance of the existing health service de-livery network, legal, technological and methodological prerequisites for advanced data analytics, etc.)?

In order to address these questions, a Special Interest Group (SIG) Population Health Man-agement will be initiated under the auspices of the International Foundation for Integrated Care (IFIC). The _aim_ of the Special Interest Group is *to support the identification and scal-ing up of innovative approaches to improvement population health*. In order to reach this aim, the SIG will pursue the following objectives:

- Identify, synthesize and share information on innovative examples that link integrated care provision and public health functions

- Appraise their evidence base, develop and recommend robust methods for the evalu-ation of these complex interventions

- Identify context factors crucial for their transferability and scalability

- Assess, develop and publish tools that can be widely applied for population health im-provement

A first step to inaugurate the SIG will be an overview on innovative case studies, which will be discussed at the workshop. Workshop participants will then have the opportunity to split into working groups to identify the questions that underlie the transferability, scalability and practi-cal implementation of the case studies.

The SIG will provide a forum to discuss the current state-of-the-art in population health man-agement, connect interested researchers, managers and policy makers to pursue research and implementation projects and develop discussion and position papers on the topic. The SIG will also aim to set up a special section in which junior researchers can identify and dis-cuss topics for PhD projects and discuss these with senior members of the SIG.

Target participants: The target audience consists of researchers, managers and decision-makers engaged in or in interested in improving population health. Other participants of the ICIC2016 with a relevant background and junior researchers are welcome.

How to Cite: Groene O. Kicking off the Special Interest Group Population Health Management– how can the scaling up of innovative success stories be supported?. International Journal of Integrated Care. 2016;16(6):A298. DOI:
Published on 16 Dec 2016.


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