Patient population and public health have been a common discussion in the healthcare space for as long as anyone can remember. Patient Population Types usually pop up because they help break down the conversation and more often than not, the general public mistakes Patient Population Types for public health. So what is the difference between both?
What is the Difference Between Patient Population Types and Public Health?
It is important that we make this distinction between Patient Population Types and public health because one is often confused for the other and in some spaces this confusion can even be divisive. So put simply: Public Health is the act of the federal, state, and local governmental organizations being involved in preventing health outbreaks like epidemics, environmental hazards, and contagious outbreaks. Public health also involves encouraging the public to adopt healthy behaviors.
The Institute of Medicine Defines Public Health as
building a new generation of intersectoral partnerships that draw on the perspectives and resources of diverse communities and actively engage them in health action.
Despite the broad nature of public health it still does not have a mandate over some aspects of society and the economy that are crucial to public health. Some of those are healthcare education, income levels of citizens, the relationship between population location and state of public health etc
Demographic Data of Population Health
In developed countries like the United Kingdom, census data is an important source of demographic data that is used for public and population health purposes. The national population is determined by the national census and so this makes it one of the most legitimate sources of original data used for population or public health activities. Some countries take a census of only urban or highly clustered areas and populations and there are still some countries that do not carry out a census. Some countries use population registers instead to keep track of the population. In countries like the United Kingdom, a census is carried out every 10 years and its been going on for centuries. Read more about the Great Britain Census Here.
A census is carried out by delivering a form to every household and residential establishment in the country. Citizens are then expected to fill out the forms with information such as how many people are in the household, and what is the income level of the household. Data can also be collected on age, ethnicity, and state of employment. So
Personal Data collected for individuals:
- Ethnic group
- Country of birth
- Marital status
- Population mobility
- Employment state
- Income level
Health Data collected for Individuals
- General health status
- Limiting long-term disability
- Provision of unpaid care
- Social class and occupation
- Economic activity status, occupation, industry.
From these, socio-economic classifications are developed. In 2011 the expectation is that income will be added.
education: level of qualifications achieved.
Data Collected for Households
Household size and structure
Number of rooms
Type of tenure
Lowest floor level access
Access to a car or van
Method of transport to work
Quality Management and Analysis Systems
The quality management system was established in 2004 and it is tasked with supporting systems that are responsible for measuring the quality of care as well as information and number of patients registered. They also help replicate data of other uses and purposes including public health data. The replicated data is managed by the prescribing support unit, based at the information center for health and social care. The most dat is collected more frequently from the following clinical domains. Quality management and analysis systems help to compare data and data prevalence within local communities
Advantages of Quality Management and Analysis Systems
Quality Management and Analysis Systems help encourage and support the establishment of disease registries which is a good population management tool. They sometimes do this by providing incentives to identify more registered patients needing to be on disease registers and receive treatment.
Disadvantages of Quality Management and Analysis Systems
One major setback of this kind of data is that it is sometimes limited. There is no breakdown of gender, age or ethnic background and there is a significant underrecording of some important indicators. This means as much as the raw data is available it might not be very useful to public health organization.
General Practice Research Database (GPRD)
A General Practice Research Database which is also referred to as GPRD is a proprietary product that can only be accessed by public health departments. And public health departments have to pay a fee to access the General Practice Research Database. They have important and useful data that can be used for public health that dates back to 1987.
Advantages of General Practice Research Database (GPRD)
The quality of the data is continually assessed
The data is available for research questions
There are standards for recording allow collation