What is population health?
Population Health can be very broadly defined as “the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within a group”[i], for the purposes of Tower Hamlets Together (THT), this includes the resident and GP registered population of Tower Hamlets with appropriate consideration for people who work and study in the borough.
While access to traditional care services plays an important part in determining the health and wellbeing of a population, evidence suggests that this is not as important as the social determinants of health – that is, the conditions in which people are born, live and work[ii] including the influence of local environment and lifestyle. This means that improving population health requires efforts to change living and working conditions across communities and that accountability for population health should be spread widely and not concentrated within the boundaries of traditional health and social care[iii].
What is this toolkit?
In 2017, the THT Board ratified the need to take a population health approach. This toolkit outlines a number of principles and poses questions to ensure that the way we work across the THT partnership, as a system to support our residents, does just that. We are already doing well, but, the toolkit offers a means of stimulating discussion and taking actions for both strategy and service development to improve further. It also supports making connections across the THT system and avoid duplication.
Who is this toolkit for?
This toolkit supports the development of the evolving THT governance structure and is for groups within the structure, including the lifecourse, enabler workstreams and Locality Health and Wellbeing Committees. Some of the questions will be more relevant to some groups than others.
[i] Kindig D, Stoddart G. What Is Population Health? American Journal of Public Health. 2003;93(3):380-383. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1447747/
[ii] UCL (2010) Fair Society Health Lives ‘The Marmot Review’. https://www.instituteofhealthequity.org/projects/fair-society-healthy-lives-the-marmot-review DH (1998) Independent inquiry into inequalities in health ‘The Acheson Report’ https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/independent-inquiry-into-inequalities-in-health-report
DHSS (1980) Report on the working group on inequalities in health ‘The Black Report https://www.sochealth.co.uk/national-health-service/public-health-and-wellbeing/poverty-and-inequality/the-black-report-1980/
[iii] Adapted from Kings Fund (2015) Population Health Systems: From integrated care to population health https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/population-health-systems