As was stated succinctly in the 2015 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report Vital Signs, progress in any human endeavor is a product of understanding the circumstances at play, having the tools available to address the controllable factors, and resolving to take the actions required. Basic to each is the choice of measures—measures that can give the best sense of challenges and opportunities, measures that can guide actions, and measures that can be used to gauge impact. In times of rapid change and constrained resources, measures that are important, focused, and reliable are vital (IOM, 2015). The same report concluded that the number of available metrics for health and health care has grown without concomitant gains in health outcomes. Indeed, said David Kindig, Professor Emeritus and Emeritus Vice-Chancellor, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, not only is there an overabundance of measures and indicators available for measuring various aspects of population health, but there have been multiple efforts to examine the nature, validity, uses, and usefulness of existing measures with the goal of simplifying existing sets to meet the needs of all decision makers, from policy makers to communities, without much success in meeting that goal.
1 The planning committee’s role was limited to planning the workshop, and the workshop summary has been prepared by the workshop rapporteur as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop. Statements, recommendations, and opinions expressed are those of individual presenters and participants, and have not been endorsed or verified by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and they should not be construed as reflecting any group consensus.
An ad hoc committee was appointed to plan and convene a workshop exploring the status and uses of measures and measurement in the work of improving population health. The committee’s charge is described in Box 1-1.
As part of its activities, the workshop planning committee developed a set of four objectives for workshop:
- Highlight existing and emerging population health metrics sets and explore their purposes, areas of overlap, and gaps.
- Highlight population health metrics with attention to equity and disparities.
- Discuss characteristics of metrics necessary for stakeholder action across multiple sectors whose engagement is needed to transform the conditions for health in communities.
- Highlight population health metrics useful to addressing health beyond health care and engaging “total population health,” again, across multiple sectors.
The workshop (see Appendix B for the agenda) was organized by a planning committee composed of Rajiv Bhatia, Mary Lou Goeke, Marthe Gold, George Isham (Co-Chair), David Kindig (Co-Chair), Thomas LaVeist, Sanne Magnan, Katherine Papa, Pamela Russo, and Lila Finney Rutten. This publication summarizes the discussions that occurred dur-
ing the workshop, and highlights speakers’ perspectives on potential needs and opportunities for identifying a set of metrics to help drive the nation’s efforts to improve population health. Chapter 2 describes the current metrics landscape, including several important milestones (events and publications). Chapter 3 presents some examples of how metrics are being used to drive improvements in population health in communities, and Chapter 4 discusses the uses of metrics to assess health equity at the population level. Chapter 5 recounts the key learnings from four rounds of World Café discussions, and Chapter 6 provides a reflection on the day’s discussions.
In accordance with the policies of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, workshop participants did not attempt to make any conclusions or recommendations about needs and future directions, focusing instead on issues identified by the speakers and workshop participants. In addition, the organizing committee’s role was limited to planning the workshop. The workshop summary has been prepared by workshop rapporteur Joe Alper as a factual summary of what occurred at the workshop.