Population health is an ever progressing branch of medicine that is fundamentally concerned with improving the health of a population as opposed to the sole health of the individual. Advances in technology continue to improve the average life expectancy, yet the American healthcare system is failing to evolve. Insurance companies routinely collect huge profits, yet a significant portion of the American population remains subject to poor health care. Reconstructions in academia and at the legislative level are a necessity if there is to be any advancement to our healthcare system and increase within population health. Medical training has proven to be insufficient in teaching students how to care for patients outside of the primary demographic to which they were exposed during their studies (Greenlick, p. 2).
Future physicians should be trained to better understand the dynamics and diversified needs of the individuals from the populations in which they will be serving. Having a working awareness of multiple patient populations would allow physicians to better serve that individual and collectively improve the population. Socioeconomic disparities, ethnic variances, access to proper nutrition, and genetic predisposition to particular diseases are a few factors that need be considered to provide quality care. Reshaping of medical school curriculum to better prepare students to understand the distribution of disease, the environmental effects on health and disease, and how to interpret the needs of a larger variety of populations should become a priority in medical academia.
Reformation is not isolated to any gender, ethnicity, social class, or age group. Health care reform remains a hot topic amongst the one-percenters, the bottom bracket, and the classes in between. Universal reforms need to be made in order to equalize our health care system.
Quality care should not be about the bottom line for profit but about respect and concern for one’s fellow-man. The greatest opposition for reformation tends to come from a small, privileged demographic who is satisfied with the status quo and rather not pay reasonably higher taxes in order for the poorer population to access adequate health care. Legislation like the Affordable Care Act is in a sense socializing health care but its ideals are a step in the right direction for successful reformation. Further clarity is needed to determine an exact methodology to make improvements in population health and the barriers that must be overcome for them to succeed (Eggleston, Abstract).
Nevertheless, a financially sound method to fund health care for all should be implemented by the government. Millions of Americans are still uninsured or underinsured and taxing the wealthy to redistribute wealth and improve health resources for the population could alleviate some of the burden our system is facing. Insuring more Americans will prevent the uninsured from having to use emergency rooms due to untimely care of preventative disease which ends up being more costly and ineffective in the long run.
Better access to health care for the disadvantaged would improve society on the whole as they would be better able to find and to remain healthy on their jobs thus becoming more productive contributors to society. In order to improve the quality of life for all, reforms in healthcare practice and academia need to be initiated. There is no room for political bias and unfounded claims for opposition if there is to be any improvement in the health of the population. Health care should be accepted as an essential human right, not a privilege. Social and financial factors must be eliminated when access to care is assessed in order to improve the health of the population and improve society.