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New! Horizon’s Population Health Tool Kit

Horizon's Population Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Management Department helps to improve the health and well-being of individuals and communities and to contribute to the sustainability of our provincial health-care system. The department's mandate is to provide leadership to Horizon Health Network in the development and implementation of regional strategies for population health promotion and chronic disease management.

New! Horizon's Population Health Tool KitPopulation Health Tools

Horizon's Population Health Tool Kit was originally designed as a resource for employees who strive to improve the health of populations they serve. The tool kit is now available on Horizon's website for the benefit of our external partners to further help collaborative efforts. This resource has two aims: 

  • to develop and advance knowledge around the key principles of population health in order to promote a common understanding

  • to help our external partners see how they can implement this approach into their scope of practice

Population Health is an approach that aims to improve the health of the entire population. It reduces health inequalities and inequities (gaps) by improving a broad range of factors and conditions that have a strong influence on everyone's health. These are called 'determinants of health' and include income, education, culture, personal health practices, support networks, etc.

Why take a population health approach?

The role of health authorities, such as Horizon, is changing across Canada. Where priority was primarily given to caring for people who are sick and injured, more focus is now shifting toward illness prevention and health promotion.

Current challenges being faced by health authorities include increasing rates of chronic disease in the population, increasing rates of chronic diseases among children and youth and an aging population. All of this adds strain on the health-care system and the current trend has now become unsustainable. The following table shows the New Brunswick Health Council's forecast for health-care expenditure.

Beyond the costs associated with health care, another reason to take a population health approach is to address health disparities (gaps) which lead to social justice issue. The following tables demonstrate health disparities within Horizon Health Network based on four key health status indicators: cancer, high blood pressure, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and diabetes.

Horizon has successfully improved lifestyles by developing programs, such as running programs as an example, to help reduce tobacco use, increase activity levels, promote healthy eating, etc. However, research indicates that there are limits to what health promotion can achieve. In fact, in addition to health promotion efforts, regional health authorities' involvement is needed to achievelt in greater impact.

Key Principles of Population Health

  • 1. acts upon the broad range of factors and conditions that have a strong influence on health (determinants of health)
  • 2. aims to improve the health of the entire population
  • 3. acknowledges that there are disparities in health status and works to reduce health inequities among population groups
  • 4. applies multiple strategies to address population health issues
  • 5. collaborates across different sectors and levels
  • 6. focuses on the primary prevention of chronic disease
  • 7. enables people to take control over and improve their health (health promotion)