Preparing for the Future of Population Health 4.0

By Jenifer Leaf Jaeger, MD, MPH, Sr. Medical Director, HealthEC
Twitter: @HealthEC_LLC

Public Health 1.0 identifies the initiation and growth in both knowledge and tools for medicine and public health. Public Health 2.0 characterizes the development of our traditional public health systems within both local and the federal government. Public Health 3.0 encapsulates the involvement of multiple sectors including other governmental agencies, community-based organizations, and the private sector. It also defines the focus of the social determinants of health.

I would say that Public Health 4.0, or rather Population Health 4.0, is the recognition of health as a global entity and the focus on identifying and eliminating health disparities. The focus is on population health management. While PH 3.0 required the development of HIT infrastructure and understanding, 4.0 requires an even greater partnership with technology allowing for enhanced care management outside of brick & mortar structures delivering health care to the most vulnerable where they are.

This movement is being echoed across the healthcare landscape as FDA begins to leverage Industry 4.0, a focus to help strengthen the nation’s public health infrastructure with an emphasis on interoperability.

The COVID-19 pandemic epitomizes the key issues of PH 4.0 as both exposure risk and serious infection/death tracked with race and socioeconomic status. The presence of certain chronic diseases, (e.g., type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, hypertension, congestive heart failure, etc.), illustrated pervasive health disparities. High rates of severe infection among Blacks (particularly in the U.S.) correspond to the high rates of these chronic diseases among minorities. High rates of infection were seen within overcrowded living conditions and among low paying “essential workers” in food service, etc. And social isolation had a substantially greater impact on individuals with less resilience financially, socially and physically.

What should be on your New pop health solution checklist?

  • Identify patients with new or worsened chronic conditions, including later stage cancers, which progressed as a result of deferred on-going management or preventive care in an effort to reduce exposure among vulnerable or high-risk persons
  • Ensure equity in healthcare access, delivery and outcomes in COVID testing, vaccine delivery, surveillance, prevention, and treatment, and throughout the healthcare landscape
  • Enhance surveillance following vaccine delivery particularly regarding new more virulent virus strains
  • Integrate value-based care into our healthcare systems to help providers and healthcare systems withstand the financial strains of a pandemic
  • Invest in public health and healthcare infrastructure, specifically re HIT.

This article was originally published on HealthEC and is republished here with permission.