Epidemiology and Population Health
Reflect on your nursing practice for a moment. If you could wipe out one illness, what would it be? How would that impact not just an individual patient, but your entire patient population? What would be the long-term benefits of eliminating that one illness?
The eradication of smallpox by 1979 provides an excellent example of this scenario. This eradication came about as a result of global collaborative efforts involving many countries and organizations, as well as the application of epidemiologic methods. In spite of high initial financial costs, it is estimated that millions of dollars continue to be saved around the world each year as a result of the eradication of this disease.
The eradication of smallpox illustrates the rich history of epidemiology and demonstrates the cost/benefits and implications of improving health at the population level. The application of epidemiologic methods and principles to other critical population health issues continues to play an essential role in improving health and health outcomes.
For this Discussion, you will identify a current population health problem, and you will examine how, and if, the problem is being addressed through the application of epidemiologic principles. You will also discuss the cost-effectiveness of dealing with the problem at the population level.
Review the Learning Resources, focusing on the smallpox epidemic of the 1960s and 1970s and how health organizations applied principles of epidemiology to eradicate this disease. (See attached file)
In light of this example, consider the cost effectiveness of addressing smallpox at the population level.
Using the Learning Resources, research a current population health problem (local or global). Select one on which to focus for this Discussion.
Think about how principles of epidemiology are being applied—or could be applied—to address the problem.
What lessons from the use of epidemiology in the eradication of smallpox might be applicable to this selected problem? What are the financial benefits of addressing this issue at the population level as opposed to the individual level?
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By tomorrow Wednesday 02/28/18 by 12pm, write a minimum of 550 words in APA format with a minimum of THREE scholarly references from the list of required readings below. Include the level one headers as numbered below:
Post a cohesive response that addresses the following:
1) Briefly summarize your selected population health problem and describe how principles of epidemiology are being applied—or could be applied—to address the problem.
2) Are there any lessons learned from the use of epidemiology in the eradication of smallpox that can be applied to your selected problem?
3) Evaluate the cost effectiveness of addressing this health problem at the population level versus the individual level.
Friis, R. H., & Sellers, T. A. (2014). Epidemiology for public health practice (5th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett.
Chapter 1, “History and Scope of Epidemiology”
Chapter 2, “Practical Applications of Epidemiology” (pages 49–80 only)
Epidemiology is defined and introduced in Chapter 1. This chapter also presents an interesting historical overview that explains the emergence of the field. The assigned section of Chapter 2 addresses several uses of epidemiology.
Nash, D. B., Fabius, R. J., Skoufalos, A., Clarke, J. L. & Horowitz, M. R. (2016). Population health: Creating a culture of wellness (2nd ed). Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Building Cultures of Health and Wellness (xxvii)
In the “Population Health Mandate” section of the course text, the authors provide an introduction to population health, noting that it has three core components: health outcomes, health
determinants, and policies.
Chapter 2, “The Spectrum of Care”
In Chapter 2, the authors examine the purposes of the population health approach. Two key themes are introduced in this chapter: 1) population health as it relates to the challenges of quality and cost in health care, and 2) population health as an approach to not only reducing the burden of chronic illness but also to promoting wellness and increasing prevention.
Chapter 8, “Behavioral Economics”
In Chapter 8, the authors examine effect of social and cognitive function on an individual’s economic decisions. Reinforced by legislation, behavioral economics can be applied in population health to influence and change health outcomes. Compelling examples of incremental improvements (e.g., corporate wellness programs) are provided throughout the chapter.
Larkin, H. (2010). Managing population health. Hospitals & Health Networks, 84(10), 28–32.
This article uses examples from a diabetes pilot program to demonstrate the value of population health management. The author discusses how the application of individual patient interventions can positively affect the entire target population, as well as improve the cost effectiveness of management programs.