Public health workers do a lot to make their communities healthier and happier. The sector operates under federal and state oversight, issuing and implementing important protocols that keep people safe. With so many public health careers and policies that improve and preserve lives, it is important that initiatives and operations are well-equipped. Technology plays a big role in effectively improving community health. From first responders to health educators, public health workers need effective technology now more than ever.
Continue reading to learn more about new technologies that are improving public health.
Public Health and Technology
One of the most common ways that technology has been implemented in public health is through informatics. Public health informatics is a combination of information technology/computer science and public health science. Informatics has dramatically improved public health initiatives in a variety of ways. Check out the benefits of public health informatics:
- Easier data collection
- Prevents harmful treatment
- Improves patient records
- Increases security in public health
- Interprets data in variety of ways
- Automates systems
As a subsection of health informatics, public health informatics provides data points that inform research, education and best practice. Collecting and distributing this kind of info digitally opens doors for AI, simulations, rapid assimilation and interpretation of data and more.
Public Health Apps
Most people have access to smartphones and mobile devices. The public health field is utilizing them for the common good. Recently, states have begun to develop healthcare apps for their residents. For example, the New York City Public Health Department has released an app designed to help residents quit smoking. The app, called NYC Help Me Quit, gives helpful tips on how to quit smoking and tracks progress.
Two other helpful public health apps include Text4Baby, which provides free parenting tips to parents, and WIC Nutrition Program, which helps families on food stamps. This new cell phone technology gives residents more control of their health and important information right at their fingertips.
Public Health Surveillance Technology
Surveillance technology is incredibly important to public health efforts. While it may have an intimidating name, it is not nearly as invasive as it sounds. Public health surveillance is essentially the collection of data that is relevant to public health. This data could be air quality, number of cancer patients, opioid-related deaths or cases of diabetes.
To make public health surveillance collect data quicker, specialists have created algorithms that can detect and sort the data at incredible speeds. Using web sources and electronic health records ensures reliability of source and veracity of conclusions. This kind of technology has increased case detection, prediction and accuracy.
Geospatial technology is a newer approach to public health surveillance. While it has always been important for epidemiologists and other public health officials to geographically look at data, it has been difficult to compile all of this information into a geospatial platform.
Geospatial technology is introducing mapping software that interprets data in spatial relations. This kind of technology would make data collection easier to understand on a geographic level and allow public health officials to conduct geographic-based research more easily.
Advocacy and Teaching
Public health teaching has improved with the addition of new and exciting technology. This technology has allowed public health departments and entities to educate communities online and with tech. Here are some of the ways that public health employees are using technology to educate and increase public health advocacy:
- Mobile apps
- Video games
- Virtual reality
- Wearable devices
The deBeaumont Foundation, in collaboration with others, has created a virtual reality experience to educate users on the importance of public health policies. The users will see two versions of the same area. For example, they may see a beautiful neighborhood with people riding bikes and walking their dogs. Then they may see a run-down neighborhood that is full of illness. So, what’s the difference? One has public health policies that positively impact the community and the other doesn’t. Public health workers can use technology in this way to teach residents important information, even if it is as simple as the importance of public health policies.
Public Health and Management Technology
Public health physicians need all the help they can get. With so many patients in need, it can be difficult to manage a busy clinic. If you are a public health group looking to improve your waiting room management, you should check out DocClocker. Here are some of the services that they provide:
- Remote check-in
- Real-time wait times
- Automated messaging
- Doctor locator
- Patient notes
- Operating room updates
- Reviewing platform
If you are interested in what DocClocker can do for your practice, go to https://info.docclocker.com to learn more.