How Does Improved Health Care Affect Population Growth?

For medical professionals, questions about population growth can impact the overall clinical care that you’re able to provide and your ability to leverage technology effectively in treating patients. Improved health care means an increased population. For instance, life expectancy has increased by as much as 60 percent in countries with greater access to health care. While the same population shows a sharp decrease in childhood mortality. 

There are many factors in place that contribute to these statistics, which include social changes, better access to care, and higher economic means for the population. However, technology and education are among the leading contributors to these positive outcomes. When patients understand their medical needs, they are more equipped to make informed decisions to improve outcomes. With better outcomes across all age brackets, life expectancy increases while infant and childhood mortality decrease.

Improved health care correlates to increased population growth. However, many experts agree that overpopulation can lead to public health concerns, as well as heightened concerns for the environment. The impact of population growth is something that each practice and provider should consider, as it impacts both public health and population health.

What Are the Effects of Population Growth on Health?

A rising population often signifies that health care is successful. It indicates that the mortality rate in children is lower and there are more births than deaths in a given year. However, overwhelming population growth can strain public health, which will decrease access to necessary care for citizens and damage quality of life.

The types of population growth and rate of growth impacts the public health and individual healthcare organizations in terms of planning for care. There can be dramatic increases in population in some areas due to economic reasons, access to employment, and other factors.

A dense population will influence the rate of communicable diseases. We noted this with the rate of infection in COVID-19 in densely populated areas. It was determined that planning and strategies should include the density of the location in mitigating the spread of infection. This is just one case scenario. We know that more densely populated areas can also mean higher transmission of common illnesses, such as cold and flu, as well as more serious disease transmissions.

Overpopulation also means more stress on infrastructure to the location. The public health sectors can become overburdened and unable to deliver optimal care. Other societal tasks may suffer, such as the ability to remove waste and provide clean water, and the ability to maintain the food supply chain. All these issues can impact the quality of life in a detrimental way, leading to increased health concerns for individual citizens.

There are pros and cons of population growth. A growing population does indicate good overall health, at least while the population is rising. Economically, an increased population theoretically means an increased workforce and therefore higher production. However, the health care and infrastructure of society must grow at the rate of the population to maintain health and quality of life.

Public Health and Population Health

Public health and population health are very different. Public health is concerned about a broad community or society. Population health has become increasingly important for practitioners and health care organizations as we seek to serve the populations in our specific geographic locations. 

With access to the information on your organization’s population, you can order necessary supplies, invest in education for high-risk diseases, monitor patients more efficiently, and otherwise improve the healthcare process for the organization. It allows you to plan more efficiently for the types of patients you’re most likely to see and offer more proactive solutions for well-care among your patients.

In the US, there has been a shift toward population health for some time as the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services have developed programs that mean providers need to move to qualify for the quality of services they provide. Some measures of this include patient satisfaction, that the proper types of programs are available for patients, and that patients can understand and pay for these services.

When you understand your population health, you can use your tools, such as EHR and EMR, to gain valuable insights that allow you to offer superior patient care. There are other benefits for the practice, as well, such as cost savings and more efficient scheduling.

How Does Technology Help with Population Growth?

Technology offers a standard and reliable way to collect patient information and use it for more efficient care at the time of visit. But your technology solutions offer more advantageous uses when it comes to understanding population growth in your organization. 

You can use your EHR tools to develop reporting options to see insights that you might miss, simply treating one patient at a time. This doesn’t negate the need for proactive treatment and observation with individual patients, of course. But it adds another layer to the available data for your organization and employees. 

Your organization can analyze individual records to make certain that any actions required have been fulfilled. For instance, if you have a high number of patients who are at risk for shingles, you can proactively offer vaccinations to your patients. If you have a high number of patients who suffer from thyroid disorders, you can more easily monitor whether they’ve had their annual blood draws and are maintaining their other proactive treatment regimens.

The technology gives you a few options in how you plan for long-term services because you can easily see the demographics of your area and develop education that will help them maintain optimal health.

Your population health solution will allow you to understand the population that you serve as a whole and see the gaps in service. You’ll be able to track the clinical quality measures your practice needs. You can also see patient care gaps so that you can plan more proactively. This gives you the business insights needed to make decisions for your practice while helping to serve your patients more efficiently. 

Key Takeaways

  • A rising population often signifies that health care is successful. It indicates that the mortality rate in children is lower and there are more births than deaths each year
  • The impact of population growth is something that each practice and provider should consider, as it impacts both public health and population health.
  • Population health has become increasingly important for practitioners and health care organizations as we seek to serve the populations in our specific geographic locations. 
  • The technology of a population health solution gives your organization the tools to understand the population that you serve as a whole and see the gaps in service.