Theultimate goal of a population health policy is to improve the healthof individuals by investing in its determinants through policies andinterventions (Kindig, Asada, & Booske, 2008). There have beenvarious challenges in trying to come up with policies that are gearedtowards the improvement and achievement of better population healthoutcomes. This has either been contributed by one of the followingfactors: – genetics, individual behavior, physical environment,socio-environment or access to health care. To achieve betterpopulation health outcomes, these five determinants should be clearlyaligned with the interest of health policies.
Thedifferences between the mortality rates in Japan and the USA asdiscussed in week four might result due to variation in the fivehealth determinants. Also, there are other factors such asdemographics. Thus, it is essential for health care policy designersto go on the ground and carry out research and analyze causes,patterns, and the effect of a health condition in the definedpopulation. This has been the cornerstone of public health as thedata collected shapes evidence-based practice and policy decisions byidentifying risk factors for a health condition and targets forpreventive health care (Nash, 2011).
Toelaborate how the epidemiologic data determines health care policies,I will use osteoporosis. Assuming that you have collected data aboutthe osteoporosis patients, you will analyze the population accordingto the five determinants. First, you will assess whether thispopulation can easily receive medical attention. If medical attentionis not accessible, the policies will be designed in such a way thatthey will favor the development of health care facilities, or moreresources will be dedicated to mobile facilities and awarenesscampaigns. The primary role of policies in this case is to ensurethat patients are aware of their situation and motivated to seektreatment measures or further assistance.
Secondly,you need to check those social factors that might affect the abilityof patients to get treatment despite health facilities being present.Factors to consider: – are incomes, education levels, and occupation.Some patients might be living in a situation that makes theaccessibility of the treatment expensive. Thus, this information isused to subsidize treatment or even provide insurance covers. Onefamous insurance cover is the Obama care. Thus, the policies aredesigned in a way that makes treatment cheap and accessible forpeople with low incomes.
Thirdly,the physical environment is also crucial in designing healthpolicies. This consists of the availability of clean water, air, anda better physical environment regarding social amenities. Patientswith osteoporosis need to be in an environment that they can exerciseor one that reduces the risk of fall. Thus, health policies will beproposed and implemented such that they encourage the development ofsocial amenities to make the physical environment better. Also,health care facilities will be guided by principles which make thesepatients at peace when they access them, such as the presence oflifts and less steep path walks.
Furthermore,individual behavior data needs to be collected once treatment hasbeen given, there are various factors that contribute to either apositive or negative recovery. This information can be used todeliver evidence-based treatment. For instance, the health departmentwill formulate policies that encourage the consumption of calciumsupplement and vitamin D while discouraging smoking and other riskbehaviors (Nolte & McKee, 2008).
Lastly,not all people are at high risk of osteoporosis. Some people at 50are at high risk of osteoporosis, while others are not. Such data areused to develop policies which give early attention to people thatare at risk, to reduce its effects. Assuming that a population inTexas is at higher risk than New York, health resources will bededicated to Texas. Thus, the epidemiologic data is used to designpolicies in my case that are geared toward preventing, treating andmanaging the osteoporosis situation.
Kindig, D. A.(n.d.). What Is Population Health? – Improving Population Health [Weblog post]. Retrieved fromhttp://www.improvingpopulationhealth.org/blog/what-is-population-health.html
Kindig, D. A.,Asada, Y., & Booske, B. (2008). A Population HealthFramework for Setting National and State Health Goals. JAMA, 299(17),2081-2083. doi:10.1001/jama.299.17.2081
Nash, D. B.(2011). Populationhealth: Creating a culture of wellness.Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Learning.
Nolte, E.,& McKee, M. (2008). Caringfor people with chronic conditions: A health system perspective.new york, NY: Open University Press.