Incorporating Population Health into Practice
Otolaryngologists who are interested in adopting a population health approach to their practices would do well to begin with an analysis of their patient charts. “Look at your records. Look at the populations you’ve treated. Does anything stand out?” said Dr. Calhoun.
Explore This IssueOctober 2019
Interested otolaryngologists can also connect with their local departments of public health. “Have conversations with them about what they’re seeing that may relate to otolaryngology,” Dr. Sykes said. Public health officers are typically well versed in the health concerns and challenges of various populations within the community; they may have already identified an area of need that dovetails with your clinical practice or research interests.
To move the profession forward, otolaryngologists should partner with epidemiologists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals. Academic departments should consider hiring PhD-prepared researchers to help them study prevention strategies and population health challenges.
“Rather than creating a research team composed strictly of surgeons, add professionals with a population health perspective as well,” Dr. Sykes said. “It’s important to have these conversations about what your work means to all populations—not just the people who come through your door, but also those populations who may not have access to your services or the interventions you’ve developed.”
Jennifer Fink is a freelance medical writer based in Wisconsin.