Health Scores

Updated: Mar 5

How can we expect population health to improve if the population we are dealing with is not literate in health? How can we expect individuals to become autonomous with their health, if individuals rely on fragmented health care system that doesn’t promote autonomous healthy living? How can we take our combat with population health onto a global scale, when we our health care system (in the US) is a competing multi-payer system with different levels of complexities and municipal determinants of health?


Collaborating with participating multi-stakeholders in the implementation of any health advancement (especially advancements in health literacy, health communication and measurements of health) was also highlighted during this week as a necessity when tackling global challenges


As technology continues to accelerate the advancement of public health, the evaluation of these health improvements leads us question the fundamental concepts of health communication and the transmission of health information. Questions such as “What is the true definition and meaning of health?”, “How do we measure an individual’s health competence and health literacy?”, “How can we measure an individual’s health?” has been highlighted in this week’s readings as well as the implementation of “Health Score Cards” as a solution to individual and system monitoring of health literacy.


I believe that the individual score card would be a number that thoroughly taps into generalizable health variables such as a person’s healthy physical and mental state, blood sugar (diabetes), body mass index (obesity), cholesterol (cardiovascular disease), blood pressure (hypertension), smoking/tobacco use (cancer and CVD), immunizations (vaccine preventable disease), and cancer screenings (age and gender specific). The health score card can be replicated globally because its generalizable technique of measuring health. However, the number would be tailored to each individual’s health status which invites the individual to engage with their own health score.


The main reason why I believe that this practice would be best is due to the autonomy that is given to the individual with that health score. A person would be able to get a “score” and rate themselves against their peers and/or their ideal health score (propelling individuals to set a standard of health for themselves). I can see how this kind of engagement can nurture long term lifestyle behavior changes, increased health monitoring, and ultimately improved health outcomes. “The double helix of health literacy and prevention” helps individuals to stay educated on their health status (and of their family members and peers), teaches individuals how to communicate with their health practitioner/health professional and increases health comprehension (which leads to better health outcomes and medical adherence).


Reference:

Ratzan S (2009). Integrating Health Literacy into Primary and Secondary Prevention Strategies



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