Structuring Health Information: Frameworks, Models and Indicators

  • Michael van den Berg
  • Peter Achterberg
  • Henk Hilderink
  • Arpana Verma
  • Marieke VerschuurenEmail author


Monitoring and assessment of population health often start with a conceptual framework or model. Although such frameworks may appear rather abstract and far away from everyday problems, they can be applied usefully in population health monitoring. This chapter will first address the potential use of frameworks and models: what are the differences between frameworks and models, and for what purposes can they be used? What are possible problems, pitfalls and complexities? Next, commonly used conceptual frameworks for population health monitoring will be addressed. Concepts, as defined in a model or framework, are often rather broad and abstract. Since such concepts cannot be monitored directly, they need to be translated into health indicators, which are specific and measurable. Therefore, the second part of this chapter addresses (health) indicators: what is an indicator, and what kinds of indicators exist? How can indicators be used and what are their limitations? What are commonly used selection criteria for indicators? The chapter will conclude with an overview of current and future developments in the field of conceptual approaches and indicators for monitoring population health.


Conceptual approach Framework Model Health indicator Indicator selection Indicator sets Metadata 


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Further Reading

  1. Fehr, A., Lange, C., Fuchs, J, Neuhauser, H., & Schmitz, R. (2017). Health monitoring and health indicators in Europe.
  2. Moran, A. C., Jolivet, R. R., Chou, D., Dalglish, S. L., Hill, K., Ramsey, K., Rawlins, B., & Say, L. (2016). A common monitoring framework for ending preventable maternal mortality, 2015-2030: Phase I of a multi-step process. BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth, 16, 250. Scholar
  3. Murray, C. J. L., Solomon, J. A., Mathers, C. D., & Lopez, A. D. (Eds.). (2002). Summary measures of population health - concepts, ethics, measurement and applications. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael van den Berg
    • 1
  • Peter Achterberg
    • 1
  • Henk Hilderink
    • 1
  • Arpana Verma
    • 2
  • Marieke Verschuuren
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Centre for Health Knowledge Integration, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM)BilthovenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Division of Population Health, Health Services Research and Primary Care, University of ManchesterManchester Academic Health Sciences CentreManchesterUK

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