3 ways to work with communities to improve public health

Patient centered
Strategies for improving public health are constantly evolving.

Tackling public health issues requires more than just the healthcare industry acting alone: An innovative approach that brings a variety of stakeholders to the table is key.

The work has just begun, according to a blog post from Health Affairs, and strategies for improving public health are constantly evolving. “It is said that when public health is doing its best work, nothing happens—epidemics do not occur, water and air remain free from contaminants and people are unencumbered by preventable diseases,” according to the post. “We are at a point in history when we have the resources and the track record to make these kinds of substantial changes that will lead to a healthier, more prosperous future.”

The post identifies key qualities that can promote better health across the population, including these three:

  • Public health leaders must take ownership of their role. These officials are the “chief health strategist” for their communities, according to the blog, and should work alongside community groups on issues like the environment, socioeconomic issues and other social determinants of health. 
  • Share data among partners. Such data will ensure that the most important areas are targeted, according to the blog. Reports should be timely, granular and actionable. Join forces to improve data-sharing infrastructure.
  • Update funding strategies. Public health leaders on the ground should define the cost of services and potential funding gaps to make the funding model more flexible, according to the post. Funds from multiple sources should be “braided” into one stream.