Over the past 20 months, the Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on underlying healthcare issues and inequalities in the UK. To add to this, our health and care needs are changing. Lifestyle choices are increasing our risk of preventable disease and affecting wellbeing, as we continue to live longer with multiple long-term conditions such as asthma and diabetes against a backdrop of an increasing health inequality gap.i
As we look to ‘build back better’ and deliver sustainable healthcare in a post-Covid world, this is a critical time to explore how we can move away from simply treating disease to identifying how we can prevent it in the first place.
How can we achieve this?
Innovative medicines, while critical to the future of healthcare, are not enough by themselves. Medical care is estimated to account for only about 20% of a person’s health outcomes, with the remaining 80% made up of the ‘wider determinants of health’.i These are health-related behaviours, alongside socioeconomic and environmental factors, that play a part in overall health. This is where we believe population health (PH) and population health management (PHM) can play an important role.
PH aims to improve physical and mental health outcomes, promote wellbeing and reduce health inequalities across the population. This includes focusing on those wider determinants of health.i
PHM fosters the use of data within a location and the development of collaborative models of proactive, rather than reactive, care. This allows local systems to better understand their community’s issues and begin to tailor care and solutions to unmet health and social care needs, while also making best use of resources by way of integrated care systems (ICSs).
Importantly, these partnerships involve different parts of the system working together, including the NHS, local authorities, other government organisations, academia, charities and industry.
For example, in Berkshire West, PHM data analysis of people with Type 2 diabetes pinpointed where poorer outcomes lay among specific communities and illustrated where there was poorer uptake of NHS diabetes education programmes.ii Armed with such data, health and care professionals worked with patients to identify and design targeted activities to help them take control of their health.ii Through working together, we as the healthcare industry can make examples such as these a reality across England.
At Novartis, our purpose is to reimagine medicine. We pursue our purpose through innovative science and technology to address society’s most challenging healthcare issues. We discover and develop treatments, finding new ways to deliver them. We believe embracing preventive healthcare approaches, such as PH and PHM, provides us with an unprecedented opportunity not only to revolutionise healthcare, but ensure medicines can be accessed by those in most need of them. That’s why we’re committed to adopting a whole system, partnership-based approach; working together with the NHS to help make the widespread adoption of PH and PHM a reality.
Through working together, we can help to tackle some of the UK’s biggest healthcare challenges and inequalities, unlock better patient outcomes and, ultimately, deliver healthcare that truly works for everyone.
To learn more about population health (PH) and population health management (PHM), please visit: www.novartis.co.uk/populationhealth
i NHS England. Population Health and the Population Health Management Programme. Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/int... Last accessed: August2021
ii NHS England. Integrated Care in Action – Population Health Management. Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/int... Last accessed: August 2021
Date of preparation: November 2021 FUSE ID: 173202
This article has been funded and written by Novartis UK.
Chinmay Bhatt, Managing Director, Novartis Pharmaceuticals UK, Ireland and Nordics