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Improving population health one person at a time? Accountable care organisations: perceptions of population health--a qualitative interview study.

TitleImproving population health one person at a time? Accountable care organisations: perceptions of population health--a qualitative interview study.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsNoble DJ, Greenhalgh T, Casalino LP
JournalBMJ Open
Volume4
Issue4
Paginatione004665
Date Published2014 Apr 25
ISSN2044-6055
KeywordsAccountable Care Organizations, Attitude of Health Personnel, Humans, Interviews as Topic, Public Health, Qualitative Research
Abstract

OBJECTIVE: This qualitative interview study explored perceptions of the phrases 'population health', 'public health' and 'community health'.

SETTING: Accountable care organisations (ACOs), and public health or similar agencies in different parts of the USA.

PARTICIPANTS: Purposive sample of 29 interviewees at four ACOs, and 10 interviewees at six public health or similar agencies.

RESULTS: Interviewees working for ACOs most often viewed 'population health' as referring to a defined group of their organisation's patients, though a few applied the phrase to people living in a geographical area. In contrast, interviewees working for public health agencies were more likely to consider 'population health' from a geographical perspective.

CONCLUSIONS: Conflating geographical population health with the health of ACOs' patients may divert attention and resources away from organisations that use non-medical means to improve the health of geographical populations. As ACOs battle to control costs of their population of patients, it would be more accurate to consider using a more specific phrase, such as 'population of attributed patients', to refer to ACOs' efforts to care for the health of their defined group of patients.

DOI10.1136/bmjopen-2013-004665
Alternate JournalBMJ Open
PubMed ID24770586
PubMed Central IDPMC4010822
Grant ListP30 DK092949 / DK / NIDDK NIH HHS / United States
Category: 
Faculty Publication