Public health is obviously an important topic…but many people are not aware of common public health issues that affect their own community. Despite organizations that fight to raise awareness, brochures and flyers about health topics, and accessibility to health-related websites, the general public remains ignorant to many common issues. It’s not because people do not want to know what is going on or because there is a lack of information. The problem lies in the ability of the public health officials to disperse the information to those who need it the most. How is that best achieved in today’s society? With today’s tools. Technology has the ability to increase public health awareness through:
In order to maintain and improve public health, communication is critical. Health care organizations such as WHO are already understanding this. In order to make changes that are sustainable for the general public, the information must be conveyed through a platform that is accessible to the public. So, while conferences and journal articles are a great way to communicate information to health care professionals, the information from these isn’t disseminated any further. The public must receive information in a widely-accessible format that is easy to understand. Tools such as apps and social media provide a platform through which public health officials can communicate with millions of people using the same amount of effort as it would take to communicate with one. Especially with the ability to merge social media accounts, the general public is able to quickly access information so that early awareness, prevention, and treatment can be developed and followed.
Many disorders are rare or stigmatized. Whereas a person with cancer can be open about his or her condition, a person with AIDS may be ashamed to be. Whereas many people have heard about conditions such as stroke, not many have heard about chiari malformation. Online tools allow members of groups to come together for support and information in a way that does not interfere with their personal lives. The Mayo Clinic identified several benefits of having a social support network–sense of belonging, increased self-worth, and a feeling of security. When coping with a disease or disorder, this support network of people who understand your condition can prevent depression
Let’s be honest–government and other public health organizations don’t have a large budget, and the budget they do have is better spent on things like studying and eradicating disease. By using social media and similar tools, public health officials can decrease spending on print media. Of course, there are several other perks to utilizing technology. Print media uses paper, ink, and resources that can be expensive…and more damaging to the environment. Which is pretty much the opposite of what public health is trying to accomplish. Web-based tools decrease the cost of meetings and other methods of dispersing information. Online tools decrease the need for public health officials to travel to areas of need to study a population or disperse the findings. These methods can also decrease costs associated with treatment, which can be substantial.