Framework for a Systems Thinking Approach to US Population Health

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Julie M. Kapp, MPH, PhD, FACE Associate Professor 2014 Baldrige Executive Fellow University of Missouri School of Medicine Department of Health Management and Informatics Columbia, MO 65212

Dr. Julie Kapp

Julie M. Kapp, MPH, PhD, FACE
Associate Professor
2014 Baldrige Executive Fellow
University of Missouri School of Medicine
Department of Health Management and Informatics
Columbia, MO 65212

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The United States lags behind its high-income peer countries on a number of critical health outcomes, including life expectancy, and this gap has been widening for the last several decades. The 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) created a number of provisions to try to address this, including an emphasis on a systems-engineering approach to health care services. In addition to the ACA, there is a growing movement toward collective impact among community-based organizations. However, despite this focus, U.S. health and health care activities are often uncoordinated and fragmented.

We applied a systems-thinking approach to U.S. population health. We used the Malcolm Baldrige Framework for Performance Excellence as the unifying conceptual systems-thinking approach. In addition to this proposed framework, we make two critical recommendations:

1) the need to drive a strategic outcomes-oriented, rather than action-oriented, approach by creating an evidence-based national reporting dashboard; and

2) improve the operational effectiveness of the workforce.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: While the population health workforce is actively engaged in many of the right efforts for improving the health of the U.S. population, what is missing is an overall framework to integrate all of the components into a single, systems-perspective so that we can make deliberate, intentional progress on our population-level outcomes.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: The next steps are identifying the right core metrics. After that would be the testing of interventions for their alignment to the metrics and ability to advance the outcomes. This would begin to facilitate the development of a dashboard.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: We cannot afford not to consider an aligned and integrated systems-thinking perspective for improving US population health.

MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.

Citation:

A Conceptual Framework for a Systems Thinking Approach to US Population Health
Julie M. Kapp, Eduardo J. Simoes, Anne DeBiasi, Steven J. Kravet
5 September 2016
DOI: 10.1002/sres.2420
Systems Research and Behavioral Science

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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