A fundamental aspect of healthcare is the level of transparency and availability of information. Access to such information is important not only for patient choice, but also for the incentives of medical practitioners. The US healthcare system has long been criticized for its lack of transparency, but recent legislation may be encouraging greater openness. A perceived tension exists between the need for health transparency and the need for patient confidentiality, not to mention the possibility of information being used for commercial gain. However, the benefits of openness and transparency far outweigh the risks.
In a recent World Health Organization report, health is defined as a human resource that supports a healthy lifestyle and a meaningful life. According to researchers in The Lancet, health is the ability to adapt to new threats and infirmities. While the concept of ‘complete health’ seems appealing, it also ignores the needs of a minority of people and contributes to over-medicating the population. This concept is based on a ‘complete health’ model that is unrealistic and fails to take into account the realities of aging, disability and chronic illness.
There are many determinants of health, including those that affect diet, exercise, and access to healthy foods. The healthiest way to improve a population’s health is to target several factors. Research shows that interventions that target multiple determinants of health have the greatest potential for success. Moreover, these determinants of health extend far beyond the traditional health care and public health sectors. Other sectors, such as education, can be important allies for population health improvement. Finally, government policies can influence individual and population health. One example is a tax increase on tobacco products.
Overall health depends on many factors, including genetics, physical environment, and social environment. A higher socioeconomic status generally means better health. Better access to clean water, clean air, and affordable housing are associated with good health. Lack of natural environments and recreational areas in neighborhoods are linked to higher rates of obesity and poor health. Similarly, poor health is associated with lack of social capital and marginalization. Hence, ensuring that people have a healthy life is essential.
Equity is a crucial aspect of the federal government’s response to COVID-19. President Biden recently issued an Executive Order addressing the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on underserved and communities of color. The Executive Order directs agencies to improve equity data collection, ensure fair resource allocation, and conduct an outreach campaign targeting underserved populations to raise vaccine confidence. The disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on the health of minorities and low-income people is the focus of the executive order.
The study of health is a dynamic process that evolves with time. Health professionals can either be clinical practitioners or public health practitioners. Despite the complexity of the process, health care professionals can help people improve their health by developing personalized health plans and engaging in community-wide health promotion. These efforts help build the culture of health and wellness at worksites, and ultimately benefit the bottom line. And by providing employees with an environment that promotes good health and well-being, employers are improving their employees’ morale and overall performance.