Medical Model vs. Population Health Model

Medical Model

Population Health Model

Geared toward clinically oriented system

Studies the effects any given health ailment

Changes the way society and the individual interact

Individuals engage in guided self-managed care

Places the fault with the individual

Assumes that there is something wrong with people who consume too much sodium and does not account for societal influences

Emphasizes public education

Individuals are provided with the information needed to make informed decisions regarding their healthcare

Maintains social hierarchy

Medical professionals are assumed to always know what is right and best

Studies a range of influencing factors

The reason(s) why a given health ailment exists are examined


Care is based on measurable and objective inputs. For example, how much sodium an individual is consuming and what the cure will be for hypertension which discourages “out of the box” thinking.


Reduces the need for treatments by encouraging proactive health-oriented decision-making, as well as emphasizes long-term planning as a key to lasting success and cost reduction

“Mechanically” oriented

Humans are machines that can be fixed if a component is defective


Social factors influencing health, such as poverty and education, are incorporated into healthcare

A sickness care system

Symptoms continue to be treated, but underlying causes are never addressed

Encourages community participation

Individuals are empowered to make positive health choices

Uses public policy to make changes

Encourages regulations for food labeling, distribution and content limits, especially for young children