Health is wealth, which is why the entire economy is relying on public and community health workers to do their jobs and save the nation. With time, the health industry has evolved immensely and continues to do so. The demands of healthcare are rising every year profoundly, especially throughout 2020. It is expected that the demand for healthcare will ascend by 15 percent over the next ten years, creating nearly 1.9 million jobs.
The operations and work ethic of community health workers differ from that of public health ones. Still, their goal is similar, to render the community life in good health. When we think of healthcare workers, the first thought that comes to our mind is doctors rushing into emergency rooms attending to a pool of sick patients. However, community and public health workers work far beyond the boundaries of the hospital. The two may not work directly with patients, but their agenda is to make healthcare plans to benefit them.
Community and public health workers are determined to research anything that’ll prolong the community’s life and help them get better. They study the community through surveys and outreach and carry out detailed analyses of the risk factors and overcome them. Continue reading to find out the link between the two.
The Difference between Community Health and Public Health
So we know that both the workforces have similar goals, but what is the difference between public health and community health? The two are interlinked. Both the parties investigate and conduct research studies using real-time data. After data accumulation, this data is forwarded to the relevant departments to be implemented in healthcare units and included in educational material. Unlike physicians and nurses, these professionals spend more time in offices or on the field than hospitals. The majority of public and community health professionals do not attend to patients directly in a hospital setup.
Community health workers promote healthcare in small groups, often locally, whereas public health workers operate on a broader scale. They work for entire societies and on a national level too. As data from smaller groups accumulate to benefit the public as a whole, it may be inferred that community health is a subdivision of public health. For example, keeping the COVID-19 outbreak in mind, public health workers could be responsible for studying and evaluating risk factors. In contrast, community health workers could be inspecting whether the community has access to healthcare or not. The jobs differ drastically, but the incentives are somewhat similar.
Why Is Community Health Important?
Some may perceive that public healthcare is more important since it covers a broader population, but what is public health without community health? The US has witnessed the shortfall of healthcare professionals and undersupply of medical resources to the greatest extent in the past year. Nearly half the population of the States is suffering from a chronic disease. However, not everyone has access to healthcare due to certain socioeconomic factors, and the most common is unaffordability. It is here that community health gets implemented.
1. Documenting The Variance In Communities
Healthcare differs from community to community due to various factors. Some communities do not have access to primary healthcare because of poverty and the rural landscape. Hospitals in these areas either don’t exist or shut down due to low patient influx. People from these communities fail to reach out to health professionals due to low incomes and a lack of education and awareness. It’s why these communities are most vulnerable to the spread of diseases and falling sick. Inadvertently they might put the entire public at risk. Community health workers survey and document such areas and scenarios to improve healthcare conditions and send help accordingly.
2. Reducing Healthcare Costs
A significant proportion of the GDP accounts for healthcare costs in the US. Community health workers reach out to patients, educate them regarding their conditions, and steer them away from making trips to the hospital for something that does not require one. Through educating the communities, chances of outbreaks spreading get reduced. As a result, the cost of healthcare drops tremendously on an economic level.
3. Upholding Healthcare Initiatives
Community health workers collaborate with non-profits to carry out initiatives to educate the public and prevent them from disease. They also work towards treating and preventing a multitude of conditions like drug problems, STDs, etc. Their job is to counsel the community and attend to their needs simultaneously. Community health professionals do workshops and go to schools to provide basic diagnosis and education. Dental treatments or breast cancer awareness are two examples. To reach and affect many people, community health professionals frequently cooperate with business organizations and political parties.
The Role of Community Healthcare in Mental Health
Mental health problems are becoming a global complication. They often go unattended in the US due to the lack of awareness and the stigmas associated with them. Community health workers are enthusiastic about working for and promoting mental health awareness within the public. There are inaugurating mental health facilities and treatment centers across many regions to benefit the public. These include 24 hours emergency services, initial screening, rehabilitation centers, and counseling.
Community Health Careers
As mentioned earlier, community health workers aid people in adopting better lifestyles for their health and the people around them. They do this by educating them and treating them for their conditions. As extensive as the job is, so is the demand in this line of work. Community healthcare jobs include directors, research analysts, and medical professionals. These people make plans and visit different regions to analyze the conditions of healthcare over there.
Additionally, they provide treatment or education and document them for statistical purposes. These jobs can be earned by gaining a relevant degree or qualification. Some jobs may require a high school diploma. Others may require a master’s of public health.
The Bottom Line
The epidemic was a struggling period for everyone, especially those in the healthcare field, as a community and public health workers went above and beyond their job duties. The two are often confused with being the same. Community healthcare is more limited to local groups, whereas public healthcare covers a broader demographic. However, this does not imply that community health jobs are less significant. They’re a subdivision of public health and accumulate the data that drives public health in the first place.