New Population Health Toolkit Released

The National Rural Health Resource Center has an interactive Population Health Toolkit to assist in creating a movement toward wellness through population health strategies. In coordination with the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (FORHP), this toolkit is a public source of information that includes understanding population health, assessments, and a web-based database for acquiring health data specific to your location. A recent data source update was launched and included three new data scenarios for state Flex Programs, critical access hospitals, and other rural health care providers to use.

Why Population Health?

Health care services, like critical access hospitals (CAHs), should help meet the health needs of their communities. Flex programs choosing to work in the population health improvement program area (3) have a unique opportunity to make measurable improvements in the health outcomes of their communities.

While each state is different, many population health initiatives are tied to accountable care organizations (ACOs) and other value-based purchasing initiatives. By improving the health of the communities we live and work in, we can change how health care is provided and help lower the cost of care while increasing quality of life.

If you wonder why population health is vital for your program, first ask why it is essential to you, personally? Think about programs that you or your family may need now or in the future. Consider chronic care management, behavioral health, substance and opioid prevention and treatment, food security, and exercise programs. These things all help you, and our communities live healthier lives and reduce the need for high-cost medical intervention.

It’s not “why” population health, but “when.”