As evidenced by the low levels of member and patient participation, many initiatives fall short of their desired outcomes. There are many reasons for this and one of them is that the component parts of the overall effort are often not as well connected and integrated as they should be. This speaks to the importance of strategic process.
In any population health initiative, a number of internal departments and external entities must be aligned.
They all need to all be on the same page and be clear about the business objectives. Their roles need to be well coordinated in order to effectively deliver program offerings and implementation, communications planning and delivery, and metrics and reporting.
As highlighted in the Framework above, these pieces flow together as a process - or a system - and when they connect properly, the system can be optimized, but when they are not, the "gaps" and "leaks" that can occur diminish efficiencies and impact.
W. Edwards Deming, the eminent statistician who led the Quality movement in the 50's talked about business as a system and created the flow diagram on the left.
"A system is a network of interdependent components that work together to try to accomplish the aim of the system. A system must have an aim. Without an aim, there is no system. The aim of the system must be clear to everyone in the system. The aim must include plans for the future. The aim is a value judgment."
W. Edwards Deming
We believe that his views on what is today called "Systems Thinking" have real and direct relevance to population health. His original "fishbone diagram" is applicable when we consider that the process of designing and delivering programs is a system, with well-defined strategic goals and desired outcomes.
It is also instrumental in helping to construct relevant and accurate journey maps, which are invaluable in the planning process
Chief Engagement Officer
Healthcentric Partners, Inc.
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