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LUMC-Campus The Hague aims for a healthier region

How can we use Population Health Management to help the citizens of The Hague get and stay healthier? This was the key question during the 5th Working Conference of LUMC-Campus The Hague on 15 January in The Hague. The issue was debated by more than 150 doctors, researchers, lecturers, healthcare professionals, administrators and policy-makers.

The Hague has a very diverse population with major health, social and economic disparities. There is plenty of room for health gains, particularly in the more deprived neighbourhoods. Population Health Management offers an approach to set up a regional partnership covering areas of policy, administration and healthcare. LUMC-Campus The Hague is the academic partner in this collaboration, bringing together healthcare, science and care innovations within the University's research and teaching.   

Mattijs Numans, Director of LUMC-Campus The Hague, opened the working conference.
Mattijs Numans, Director of LUMC-Campus The Hague, opened the working conference.

More than 20 research projects on Population Health Management

LUMC-Campus The Hague is currently involved in over 20 research projects aimed at improving the health of the local population.  LUMC-Campus The Hague also acts as a network facilitator in these projects. Specialists from different disciplines can find one another via the Campus and benefit from one another's expertise. This was also clearly visible during the speed-dates at the project fair during the working conference, one of which was on HIP-CARE, for example. During the session, a medical researcher and a GP had involved discussions about the use of data in the care sector.  

In the HIP-CARE project, researchers are looking at why it is that around one in four people die within four years of breaking a hip. They are collecting data from GPs, hospitals and geriatric convalescence organisations, data  that will help them to develop new treatment methods that are a better match the individual and his or her personal situation. LUMC-Campus The Hague is taking on the role of  ‘Academic Trusted Adviser’.                       

During the working conference specialists from different fields shared ideas with one another.
During the working conference specialists from different fields shared ideas with one another.

Combining data

During the plenary part of the working conference, Stephen Sutch, Director at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, addrssed one of the key issues of the conference. 'Population Health Management brings together an enormous amount of data,' he told the audience. 'By analysing patient data, e-health and statistics from different sources, we also get a better picture of the socio-economic status and living conditions of patients. These factors used to be ignored within clinical and care issues, but they are invaluable inf we want to develop new care interventions. This is one of the reasons why the crux of Population Health Management is not about organisations, but about people.'  

Jet Bussemaker talked about involving the local population in Population Health Management.
Jet Bussemaker talked about involving the local population in Population Health Management.

Involve local people in healthcare problems

Jet Bussemaker, Professor of the Science, Policy and Social Impact of Healthcare, took Sutch's message further. According to Bussemaker, it is important to involve local people more in Population Health Management. That could take the form of citizen science, or other ways of giving local people a say in the problems and solutions in healthcare. This co-creation between researchers and residents will bring about a new way of doing science and gaining knowledge at regional and local level. 'We used to say that the Netherlands is changing, and healthcare has to change with it. But that's not enough. It has to be aimed at the individual,' Bussemaker insists. 'This calls for a new interdisciplinary collaboration that links science to societal challenges and also involves the residents themselves.'  

Photo above: Stephen Sutch talking about the use of big data in healthcare.

New MOOC on Fundamentals of Population Health Management

Besides research, LUMC-Campus The Hague also wants to play a bigger role in medical education in the coming years.  The Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) ‘Fundamentals of Population Health Management’ was launched during the working conference as one of the steps to meet this aim.  This free course is the first in a series of 9 e-learning programmes that are due to appear this year.  The online course will address data analysis, integrated healthcare and organisational preconditions. More information.

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