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Using Driver Diagrams to Improve Population Health

Overview

A population health driver diagram identifies primary and secondary drivers of an identified community health objective, and serves as a framework for determining and aligning actions that can be taken across disciplines for achieving it. This strategy relies on public health and health care to work collaboratively rather than competitively, offering far reaching potential for both sectors and the communities they serve. Grounded in the belief that public health and health care are more effective when they combine their efforts to address a health issue than when they work separately, this approach of using a population health driver diagram can be used to tackle challenges at the crossroads of these two sectors.


Through piloting, the Public Health Foundation (PHF) has demonstrated the value of the population health driver diagram approach for aligning efforts of public health and health care organizations in improving community health.


Antibiotic Stewardship
In 2012, PHF led development of a population health driver diagram to address a challenge being faced by both the public health and health care communities – improper use of antibiotics. The Public Health Antibiotic Stewardship Driver Diagram was designed to achieve optimal antibiotic use by identifying primary and secondary drivers that both public health and health care can address within a community. PHF worked with partners in quality improvement (QI), infection control, epidemiology, and public health leadership, and developed and piloted this driver diagram as part of PHF’s Antibiotic Stewardship Program. The initial accomplishments of the pilot sites suggest that this driver diagram approach holds great promise for improving community health challenges.

 

Diabetes Prevention and Control

PHF, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), is developing and using a population health driver diagram framework to address aspects of diabetes prevention and control in three Texas regions. The population health driver diagrams are assisting communities to identify and implement interventions to be aligned across stakeholders. In addition, the regions are using the driver diagrams as a tool to achieve greater health equity within their communities and improve the value of community health investments. PHF is providing technical assistance to the collaboratives formed in each Texas region, including the use of quality improvement strategies to help develop, implement, track progress of, and improve interventions.


Increasing Use of Oral Health Care
With funding from the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, PHF led an effort to develop a driver diagram to help public health and health care organizations work together to increase the use of oral health care. In 2014, an interdisciplinary team of experts in quality improvement, oral health, epidemiology, and public health practice helped identify and map primary and secondary drivers that can lead to increased use of oral health care, and developed the Population Health Driver Diagram to Increase Use of Oral Health Care.

 

Vector Control

With funding from the National Center for Environmental Health of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, PHF has developed a Vector Control Population Health Driver Diagram to help community stakeholders work together to decrease the presence of vectors and prevent vector borne disease transmission in a community. The creation of this driver diagram was part of the Vector Control Program Performance Assessment and Improvement Initiative. Participants of the initiative used the population health driver diagram to consider strategies for their vector control performance improvement projects.


Other Use of Driver Diagrams

Based on the feedback about these completed population health driver diagrams, PHF is committed to expanding the use of population health driver diagrams to address community health challenges. At a time when collaboration between public health and health care is increasingly necessary to effectively and efficiently address health challenges, this approach holds much promise. PHF is looking to further demonstrate how driver diagrams can be used to align the efforts of public health and health care to address longstanding and emerging community health challenges. For example, PHF has created draft population health driver diagrams to address:

For more information about any of these initiatives or to tell us how you're using driver diagrams in your community, email Vanessa Lamers at vlamers@phf.org.

 

Additional Resources:

 
Using Driver Diagrams to Improve Population Health