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Key differences between Population Health and Public Health

Population health and public health are amongst the most popular buzzwords in the healthcare delivery sector today.  Although both the terms appear to sound and mean the same, they are definitely two different concepts in both their meaning and application.

Population health and public health equally value the community’s well being.  The primary task for both is examining health trends and evaluating causes of health conditions in the community.  The objective of these two concepts is to suggest ways of promoting health and delivering quality healthcare.  The key difference between population health and public health is in the demographic grouping through which the health of a community is addressed and studied.

Population Health

The prime focus of population health is on the health outcomes of a particular community or sub population.  Various societal issues, attitudes, values, beliefs and behaviors are taken into consideration in measuring and determining the outcomes as these are the prime factors that influence the health of a population.  The outcome seeks out effective ways to improve the health of the community or population or sub-population along with reducing the health inequities among different population groups.

The approach of population health represents a broad range of health determinants within the society.  As per several population health thought leaders, in a society, the factors that play the most important role in influencing health patterns of individuals are economic, social and physical environment, personal health tradition, individual abilities and managing skills, biological factors, development in the early childhood, gender, culture and the available health facilities.  Hence, the main approach of population health involves addressing these determinants.

Considering all the above factors, the term can be largely defined as the ability of people to address life’s changes and challenges and derive modes of staying healthy.

Public Health

Instead of concentrating on a selected community of individuals, public health puts its prime focus upon the population’s health as a whole.  Practitioners in this arena are primarily concerned about preventing injuries and diseases to the overall population of the country and work towards identifying causes of health related problems that can affect the larger population.  Their efforts result in benefits for all the individuals in the country.

Considering the past achievements of public health, there is no doubt that these efforts do generate positive results.  The immunization programs that have resulted in almost complete eradication of diseases like smallpox, polio and diphtheria are a part of public health programs.  The exclusion of asbestos from workplaces and home is also an achievement.  Since ages, practitioners in public health have constantly focused on enhancing people’s quality of life both locally and globally, thus ensuring better health for all.


References

  1. Barnet, S. (2015, December 18). Population health, public health, community health — What difference does the terminology make? Retrieved December 04, 2016, from www.beckershospitalreview.com: http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/healthcare-blog/population-health-public-health-community-health-what-difference-does-the-terminology-make.html
  2. Population Health and Public Health. (2016). Retrieved December 04, 2016, from www.spph.ubc.ca: http://spph.ubc.ca/about/public-health-and-population-health/
  3. Riddle, C. (2016, February 12). What Is the Difference Between Population Health, Community Health and Public Health? Retrieved December 04, 2016, from www.mcolblog.com: http://www.mcolblog.com/kcblog/2016/2/12/what-is-the-difference-between-population-health-community-h.html
  4. What is population health and how does it compare to public health. (2016). Retrieved December 04, 2016, from www.slideshare.net: http://www.slideshare.net/healthcatalyst1/what-is-population-health-and-how-does-it-compare-to-public-health

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