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Public health is a very broad term with many different definitions and understandings. John M. Barry defined public health as the means where the largest numbers of lives are saved, usually by understanding the epidemiology of a disease—its patterns, where and how it emerges and spreads—and attacking it at its weak points. Basically, it is a system that performs community service by way of publicly promoting health through accessible treatment outlets, providing disease prevention resources, and prolonging life.

You may be wondering what role public health plays in your life. Well for starters, it is a system that improves the quality of both the health services you provide as well as the health services you receive. The community is encouraged to enhance their knowledge of care and take action through advertising healthy eating, regular exercise, and periodic doctor visits. Developing healthy behavioral patterns through marketing strategies is an effective way to increase awareness.

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An example of public health and how the public health system works would be the 2009 outbreak of Swine Flu, now known as the H1N1 Virus. The Swine Flu was the one of the largest epidemics to hit the United States, with an astonishing death toll of 49,000 people in a single flu season. Scientists alongside health care researchers worked effortlessly to understand and form a counterpart for the virus. Through studying its patterns they were able to determine its origin was from pigs in New Mexico ill with influenza.

This led to new discoveries and a breakthrough in medication because it was considered the first crossover respiratory disease from animal to human. By completing extensive test trials studies were able to show the viruses weak points, which is where the H1N1 vaccination came into effect. Health care providers were able to reach out to the communities through social networks, magazine articles, commercials, and various other media.

In doing so, large amounts of preventive resources along with treatment center information was able to be distributed and lessen the amount of illness contractions and deaths caused by this specific strain of virus, ultimately prolonging life within the community. The only improvement I would suggest is establishing a system that can alert a provider when multiple patients with the same symptoms are being seen around the same time frame. If this type of matching system was in effect at the time the H1N1 pandemic started then the death rate would have been substantially less.

Although our department may not have the resources that the federal government has to get a message across, we can still be effective in practicing public health. All illnesses and symptoms can be categorized using our newly updated electronic health records system. Be alert to patient needs and patterns to help prevent illness, treat illness, and prolong life. References http://www. cdc. gov Information Technology for the Health Professions, Fourth Edition, by Lillian Burke and Barbara Weill. Published by Pearson. Copyright © 2013 by Pearson Education, Inc.

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