Workplace Wellness

Population Health Strategies Your Organization Should Consider and How To Measure Their Impact

Written by Kate

For decades, the American healthcare system has focused on the clinical needs of sick people, the cure of illnesses, and the medical intervention of at-risk groups. However, these approaches have a limited effect on disease prevention while consistently disregarding prevailing inequalities affecting a population group’s access to medical services and healthcare quality. Recent years have seen a shift toward the population health framework, as health issues continue to persist at a population-level and companies are increasingly aware of how much population health impacts their bottom line. The growth in organizations adopting population health strategies as critical components for their healthcare plans proves that more employers are seeking better health outcomes for employees regardless of their income and social background. 

Deploying population health strategies allows HR teams to measure their impact and refine your organization’s population health objectives. These can include analyzing the success of their health strategies, using the collected data collected to target the right people, improving the variation in care, and determining the total care costs. 

Read on to learn more about population health strategies your organization should consider and how to measure their impact. 

What is a Population Health Strategy?

Organizations using population health strategies to improve outcomes in their employee healthcare do so for a good reason. A population health strategy is an approach to care management designed to improve a target population’s health, rather than individual health outcomes.

Population health strategies help companies identify opportunities to advance health equity among their employees while reducing healthcare costs. This involves redistributing the risk factors allowing high-risk employees to benefit from a broad range of interventions offering better health outcomes, including disease control and prevention.

Examples of such employees include:

  • Overweight and obese employees
  • Employees with high-risk lifestyle habits
  • Depressed or suicidal employees
  • Employees going through traumatic physical or mental health challenges

Developing effective population health strategies involves extensive collaboration between healthcare professionals, managed care plans, and social services. HR teams should also prioritize social, economic, and environmental factors when developing population health initiatives.

What are Examples of Good Population Health Strategies? 

Organizations aiming to improve their Population Health Management (PMS) Systems rely on effective population health strategies. Deploying PMS strategies ensures a greater impact on healthcare delivery at lower costs while providing a better understanding of risk stratification. A key focus of PHM strategies and their components is achieving quality improvement resulting in sustainable patient outcomes. Such outcomes are easily accomplished when healthcare providers, including managed care plans, can identify the risks associated with certain groups and develop appropriate health interventions that improve patient care. Below are some examples of good population health strategies:

Individual Behavioral Strategies

Human behavior is a key factor in ensuring healthy lifestyles and disease prevention. Individual behavioral strategies are prevention-oriented strategies promoting self-preservation activities focusing on adopting healthy behaviors and lifestyles that lessen the risk of developing a chronic disease. These strategies seek to influence social and behavioral transformation in a population through programs that promote healthy lifestyles and well-being, such as education, counseling, nutrition programs, and physical activity. 

Clinical Population Medicine Strategies

Providing effective clinical care is a core component of population health, which is why aligning clinical care with population health is all the more important. Clinical population health strategies aim to improve population health by reducing healthcare costs and improving patients’ experience by focusing on their overall health.

Health Equity Strategies

Population health equity strategies focus on improving access to healthcare to reduce disparities for vulnerable populations. Health inequalities occur when healthcare systems fail to address the impact of population-level factors, i.e., physical, social, and economic environments, on community health outcomes. Organizations can achieve health equity when healthcare planners and providers collaborate to develop healthcare systems, programs, and policies to eliminate employees’ socioeconomic disadvantages allowing them to “attain their full health potential.” Factors influencing health inequality include workplace conditions, housing and physical environment, social and community context, income and wealth disparities, healthcare access and use, and access to high-quality education.

population health strategy

Continuous Patient and Provider Engagement

This is a key population health strategy influencing better outcomes and long-term patient well-being. An excellent example of inadequate patient engagement can be seen in a 2021 Pegasystems survey, where seventy-six percent of healthcare providers report having superb communication with patients, while barely half of their patients (54%) reported being pleased with the communication. Patient engagement strategies are crucial to improving treatment compliance and streamlining the determination of a suitable care plan. Strong patient/provider relationships also help reduce overall healthcare costs. Population health initiatives can only achieve their objectives when they fulfill the patients’ physical, mental, and social needs. Thus, healthcare providers should communicate appropriately to ensure prompt and complete patient/provider information sharing. Some ways to accomplish this include:

  • Leveraging modern engagement technologies
  • Listening, learning, and receiving patients’ feedback
  • Staying engaged throughout aftercare, delivering personalized experiences
  • Enhancing patient education
  • Segmenting patient population by social determinants of health (SDOH), demographics, and psychographics
  • Using the patient’s preferred communication channels
  • Shared (patient/provider) decision-making
  • Leveraging modern engagement technologies
  • Listening, learning, and receiving patients’ feedback
  • Staying engaged throughout aftercare, delivering personalized experiences
  • Enhancing patient education
  • Segmenting patient population by social determinants of health (SDOH), demographics, and psychographics
  • Using the patient’s preferred communication channels
  • Shared (patient/provider) decision-making

Healthcare Technology Strategies

Innovative digital health technologies like population health informatics and smartphone medical apps are practical tools for reaching vulnerable populations. Telemedicine interactions through mobile web-based platforms are a leading communication medium, enabling real-time interactions between healthcare providers and patients in historically underserved communities. 

Population Health Data Analytics

Using data to improve patient outcomes is another crucial objective of PHM. Data can be analyzed to determine a population’s historical behavior patterns and determine the most effective medical interventions for patients. Currently, data allows healthcare providers to spot overlooked areas of patient care and track progress. However, forthcoming Artificial Intelligence (AI) developments will transform healthcare delivery, including treatment protocols and preventive medicine.

What Factors Should You Consider when Developing Population Health Strategies? 

HR teams and healthcare planning committees must adopt a multifaceted approach when considering factors impacting an organization’s population health. The impact of the four main factors, also known as Social Determinants of Health (SDOHs), varies according to a population’s health needs and inequalities. This section examines the main drivers to consider when developing population health strategies. 

  • Socioeconomic Environment: social and economic conditions which predict a population’s health outcomes. Individuals born, working, or living in unsafe, low-income environments with low education, high unemployment, poor-quality housing, and poor healthcare access are more likely to experience poorer health outcomes and have shorter lifespans than individuals in highly-educated affluent communities.
  • Lifestyle Behaviors: individual choices that affect the quality of health over a lifetime. Most chronic illnesses like diabetes, lung cancer, obesity, and congestive heart failure result from behaviors like lack of physical activity, smoking, and poor dietary habits. It is important to emphasize behavioral change promoting healthy lifestyles when developing population health strategies. 
  • Physical Environment: environmental factors like air and water quality, or public leisure facilities, like parks and playgrounds, public housing, schools, and transportation systems can affect a population’s health. Breathing toxic air and consuming unsafe water air can lead to a host of health issues down the road.
  • Clinical Care Access: is vital where medical intervention is needed. HR teams or healthcare planners must consider the impact of affordable, prompt, and high-quality clinical care on patient outcomes when developing population health strategies requiring patient/provider interaction.

What Should You Consider When Implementing Population Health Strategies? 

Some key considerations healthcare planners should prioritize when implementing population health strategies: 

  • Partner with external stakeholders, such as healthcare providers and organizations, to support the implementation process and promote participation.
  • Collaborate with hospitals and public/community/local health organizations to develop strategies around community needs to maximize resources and prevent duplication of efforts.
  • Educate the target population about behaviors that contribute to healthy outcomes. 
  • Adapting strategies to suit the community culture. Each community has its distinct structure, and population health strategies should be culturally acceptable. Additionally, health interventions must fall within the community’s clinical capacity. 
  • Considerations for improvement should include feedback from patients and stakeholder experiences. Monitoring and evaluating patient outcomes should translate into improved access to clinical care and social services in high-risk populations. 
  • Establishing clear goals to measure outcomes should be considered during the implementation stages. It also helps if the healthcare planning team develops metrics to measure the strategic impact and ensure efficient resource use. 

How Do You Measure the Impact of Population Health Strategies? 

Compiling and analyzing accurate data is crucial for measuring the impact of population health strategies on communities. A World Health Organization (WHO) 2020 report underscores the importance of developing effective monitoring systems to generate data that ultimately influence decision-making. Evaluating the Impact of population health strategies is a continuous process where the constant data gathering and analysis ensures the long and short-term objectives remain effective. Below are some of the key steps involved. 

  • Identify the purpose of the population health strategy and communicate its objectives across the team before measuring the impact. 
  • Define key metrics and identify how your team will use them as a measurement tool. Ensure you have the proper set of metrics in your population health dashboard.
  • Build strong collaborations involving professionals with diverse skills and relevant expertise. 
  • Implement a reliable data-gathering and reporting process. Gather the baseline data before implementing the population health strategy to serve as a benchmark for impact measurement after collecting additional data.
  • Gather follow-up data for analytics and comparison with baseline data to assess the health strategy impact. 
  • Perform data analysis to determine if the desired objectives have been achieved. Report your findings to relevant stakeholders. 
population health analytics

What are 4 Population Health Strategies that Help Organizations Improve Outcomes?

Organizations implement PHM strategies to drive the Triple Aim healthcare objectives, which seek to achieve:

  • Improving population health.
  • Enhancing patient experiences and outcomes. 
  • Reducing per capita care costs. 

Organizations seeking innovative healthcare systems align them with PHM strategies to achieve sustainable change. Let us explore how organizations can use the following key population health strategies to improve health outcomes. 

  1. Data Transformation: converting medical information from physical documents and folders into Electronic Health Records (EHR) is necessary for effective care management and transparency. Remotely accessible EHR data is key in extracting background (including SDOH) information. It makes it easier for healthcare providers to quickly identify patients who require attentive care, ensuring the prompt delivery of proper care services to the correct location. 
  2. Predictive Analytics: Deploying analytics tools can help reveal insights to identify high-risk patients and offers providers opportunities to evaluate, monitor, and improve individuals’ care outcomes.  
  3. Care Management: Organizations can improve patient health outcomes by supporting them more continuously throughout care. This can include implementing preventative care programs promoting behavioral shifts in high-risk individuals to reduce hospital admission/readmission rates.  
  4. Billing System Revamp: Switching from conventional fee-for-service payment models to value-based contracting care systems that accurately depict total care costs.

What are 4 Tools That Can Help Your Organization Implement Population Health Strategies?

It’s no surprise that successful implementation of population health strategies is an overly complicated process. As we discussed earlier, PHM is an evolving conception comprising various innovative technologies using clinical, socio-economic, behavioral, financial, and environmental data to improve clinical outcomes and reduce costs. 

Tools used in implementing population health strategies provide a framework allowing healthcare planners to identify, monitor, and offer precision care to individuals in a population. Here are 4 tools that can help organizations implement population health strategies

  1. Vision and strategy – provide a general definition of what the population health strategy means to the organization, the workers, the healthcare planners, and administrators. 
  2. Virtual care –  telehealth or virtual care offers organizations seamless connections between patients and providers. This tool facilitates effective clinical intervention, a quick review of data analysis, and improves healthcare coordination and communication across different providers. 
  3. Clinical care coordination – is a significant population health implementation tool enabling organizations to organize effective partnerships providing coordinated care across the health delivery continuum. 
  4. Information liquidity and analytics – promoting the efficient exchange of EMRs and patient data across different PHM systems is important. Information liquidity, meaning the seamless information flow along multiple channels, reveals a deeper understanding of a population’s health behaviors and lifestyle patterns. 


Implementing and measuring the effectiveness of population health strategies can be daunting. However, by partnering with the right stakeholders and implementing the right strategies for the population, you will see the benefits of improved health outcomes and employee well-being. To learn more, please feel free to visit our Resource Library or schedule a call with one of our benefits experts.

Corporate Wellness Benefit Managers having a discussion while looking at an electronic tablet.

Get the scoop on wellness

Running a wellness program is a big job! We're here to help.

Join the 19,000+ other readers who visit this blog every month!

Subscribe to our bi-weekly Tuesday newsletter for the latest wellness program tips, insights, and stories.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter