How primary care can contribute to population health

The primary care physician often acts as a home base for patients who need additional or specialty care. Patients with chronic or complex conditions, especially, tend to see multiple providers for care that needs to be coordinated by the primary care physician. Contributing to population health is a main goal for coordinating this care.

A framework recently developed by the Public Health Leadership Forum (PHLF) and Healthcare Transformation Task Force (HCTTF) emphasizes the need for cross-coordination among independent physicians and other health providers, including social workers, whose focus is also on population health.

As HCTTF notes, “There is mounting recognition that to truly improve health outcomes in the U.S. and curb chronic diseases there must be an interdisciplinary, coordinated, and cross-sector approach to address acute conditions and the upstream social factors that contribute to poor health outcomes.”

HCTTF further explains that the framework “requires action from key stakeholders to realize the comprehensive community wellness vision:

  • Public health and health care leaders can use the framework to convene collaborative groups, commit the time and resources needed to effectively collaborate on a shared vision, and grow a generation of health professionals who view multi-sector collaboration as the norm.
  • Local, state, and federal policy makers can learn from the examples of effective cross-sector collaboration that informed development of the framework to advance policies and programs that create the catalysts and conditions in which collaborative wellness approaches thrive.
  • Health practitioners can identify opportunities to engage and support community-based organizations in structured partnerships to ensure health interventions can truly take hold.”

Primary care providers can take advantage of technology when caring for their patients, with an eye toward population health management. Elation’s Clinical First Electronic Health Record (EHR) enables primary care providers to effectively coordinate care while: