What Is Population Health Management?
Those in population health are working to improve the health of entire groups of people.
As the global population approaches 7.5 billion people, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s World Population Clock, a common thread that connects us is the need for strong support for community health and well-being.
And while each person in any given population group deserves individual attention and care, there are methods of improving the health of a population as a whole. That practice is called population health management.
What Is Population Health Management?
Health educators and others specializing in Population Health Management (PHM) work to improve the health of entire populations. Whether focusing on populations measured on a world-health scale or focusing on much smaller groups, PHM specialists seek to prevent and cure a given population’s chronic diseases and conditions through engaging the healthcare stakeholders (community, providers, healthcare consumers, government agencies, and payers) and by integrating evidence-based clinical care and healthcare management practices.
In general, PHM specialists begin with a specific problem among a specific population group. For example, Hispanic mothers in the San Antonio, Texas, area suffer an infant mortality rate that’s significantly higher than the state average.1 That’s the exact kind of problem a PHM specialist can help solve because the problem is clearly identifiable and present in a discrete population group.
As for how a PHM specialist might help solve the problem, their training and education allows them to use a variety of skills and disciplines to study the problem and develop solutions. They can examine the historical, structural, political, and cultural forces that affect a population’s health and use that knowledge to develop programs that can help break down barriers to healthcare access and education. They can use data analytics to measure healthcare delivery and outcomes and use their findings to enhance population health initiatives. And they can use principles of health education to teach patients how to manage chronic diseases and better care for themselves.
How Do You Start a Career in Population Health Management?
A PHM career can begin with a Master of Science in Health Education and Promotion or a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA). Specifically, you’ll want to find a health education and promotion or healthcare administration degree program that includes a population health management specialization. The population health management specialization will help you gain the skills you need to start or advance a public health job focused on population health.
In addition to being a great degree, a master’s in health education and promotion or healthcare administration can also be more convenient to earn than you might think, thanks to online education. How is online learning more convenient? Well, when you choose to earn a master’s degree online, you don’t have to drive to a campus or attend classes at fixed times. Instead, an online health education or healthcare administration degree program lets you complete coursework from home and on a schedule designed to give you the flexibility to choose when in the day you attend class. This, in turn, makes it much more possible to work full time while you earn your degree, which is why online universities are so popular with working adults.
Population health management can help large numbers of people live healthier lives. With an MS in Health Education and Promotion or a Master of Healthcare Administration that includes a PHM specialization, you can put yourself on the path to a successful population health career.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering an MS in Health Education and Promotion and a Master of Healthcare Administration. Both of these degree programs include an optional Population Health Management specialization. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.