Imagine this scenario: A community outreach program offers at-home consultations for young, first-time mothers, while a senior citizen suffering from diabetes receives weekly checkups for nutrition control to help reduce high diabetes rates in a community. All these success stories tell so much about how public health plays a vital role in improving the quality of healthcare in communities.
One of the main goals of public health in community-focused care is improving patient outcomes and healthcare services within a target population. By using public health theories on a local level, healthcare practitioners can deliver their services to a target demographic and promote overall wellness in families with no proper access to medical services.
One example is audiology practice acquisition services that help audiology clinics continue patient care within a specific target market or area. By selling an audiology practice, the community can gain information and access the highest quality ear care while the business grows in its own right. It will also help the target patients to place more value in consulting hearing healthcare providers.
Basically, community health programs aim to bridge certain gaps by providing local communities fair access to medical resources. Some of these gaps include the inability to apply for health insurance and far-flung rural areas with no available medical service. The role of community workers is to serve as the main healthcare provider in isolated communities, where socioeconomic factors hinder their access to health equity.
Medical practitioners interested in applying public health principles in a local population should know the unique characteristics of community health. This way, it will allow them to interact with the members of the community and offer comprehensive healthcare solutions to the population.
The role of community health
Community health is mainly concerned with the overall well-being of every member of the community, whether they are living within the same neighborhood or region. These populations typically represent the same ethnicity, socioeconomic conditions, and most of all, health characteristics.
For example, a low-income community may experience a food issue called “food desert.” It is where the entire neighborhood suffers from high obesity rates because of the limited access to affordable and nutritious foods. Another instance is an area with constant exposure to harmful contaminants from a nearby waste facility. To reduce the worsening of health conditions brought by these scenarios, community health workers will take action by ensuring lower medical costs, engaging the community in healthcare decisions, and improving access to preventive health services.
Core elements of community health
Public health providers involved in community health should recognize the importance of specific variables associated with socioeconomic status. These include nutrition, income, and modes of transportation. It is also essential to identify how existing educational and medical resources affect the citizen’s way of living and the kind of improvements required.
Here are the core elements of community health:
- Determine health concerns through social and environmental factors that impact life choices
- Creating intervention plans to address shortages in healthcare resources, such as outreach programs, mobile clinics, and health centers.
- Offering essential medical services, such as counseling, social support, and screenings.
- Providing access to affordable resources, such as mental, dental, and medical services; or education, food, housing, and transportation.
- Minimizing the need for emergency care and expensive hospitalizations
- Promoting improved healthcare at high-risk populations to lawmakers
- Collaborating with community organizations to address various basic needs, such as nutrition, housing, transportation, and medical needs.
Main objectives of community health
The goal of community health is to provide full healthcare services to communities that ensure direct access to vital resources, such as mental, pharmacy, dental, and medical health care. Public health workers can encourage families to manage their health by providing tools to access healthcare and educating the population about their basic resources.
The main initiatives of community public health concentrate on certain areas that require immediate medical help while making sure they eliminate all barriers in attaining healthy living. More often, the average lifespan of community members differs by 20 to 30 years depending on certain disparities that hinder their access to nutrition, mental health support, and affordable medical services.
Besides providing healthcare services, community health professionals, such as social services and healthcare providers, aim to establish special bonds among the citizens. This way, it will be easier for them to accomplish essential tasks, such as providing community health resources, informing residents on healthy lifestyles, and identifying regional health risks.
For those who confuse community health with population health management, the latter is concerned with a specific population’s overall health outcomes based on an extensive range of factors besides geography. Often, hospitals apply population health management techniques to reduce readmission and enhance chronic disease management.
It is essential to recognize that not all communities have access to healthcare systems. Many of them suffer from chronic health conditions because of various socioeconomic factors. The role of public health aims to overcome all barriers to ensure everyone has access to a healthy life.