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A key element of a population health approach is the recognition that improving health is a shared responsibility. "Intersectoral collaboration" is the joint action among health and other groups to improve health outcomes. A population health approach calls for shared responsibility and accountability for health outcomes with health groups and groups not normally associated with health, but whose activities may have an impact on health or the factors known to influence it. Intersectoral collaboration in a population health approach includes the horizontal management of health issues. Horizontal management identifies common goals among sectoral partners. It then ensures coordinated planning, development and implementation of their related policies, programs and services.
Another key element of a population health approach is the participation of Canadians in developing strategies to improve health. The approach ensures appropriate opportunities for Canadians to have meaningful input into the development of health priorities, strategies and the review of outcomes. A benefit of public involvement is that public confidence in decision making and information sharing is increased, as those Canadians who are most affected by a health issue contribute to possible solutions early in the planning process. See Involving Canadians
At the federal level, our job is to create a climate for improving health by providing coordination and leadership; encouraging federal, provincial and territorial collaboration; providing the public and other stakeholders with the information and tools they need; collaborating on an international level to share information; and developing the infrastructure to institutionalize the population health approach
At the provincial and territorial level, the challenges include collaborating across ministries and levels of government to develop healthy public policies; developing health goals and accountability frameworks that reflect the population health approach; balancing investments across the health system; and providing regular information to members of the public about health status
The private sector can do its part by ensuring that it provides a safe and healthy working environment that has opportunities for continuous learning; that it takes into account its responsibilities for protecting the environment; and that it contributes to the overall well-being of the community
At the local level, communities can focus their energies on developing partnerships that address the determinants of health; planning and providing high-quality services; sharing information and resources designed to maximize health impacts; and involving citizens in setting priorities and implementing programs
As individuals, we can all contribute by taking responsibility for our own health and well-being; actively seeking out the information we need to make informed health decisions; building supportive communities; and participating in community activities that have an impact on health.