HLT 362 Topic 5 DQ 1 Describe how epidemiological data influences changes in health practices
Topic 5 DQ 1
Describe how epidemiological data influences changes in health practices. Provide an example and explain what data would be necessary to make a change in practice.
REPLY TO DISCUSSION
Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health-related states or events within a specified population, its purpose being to inform decisions about the control of health problems (Hannaford & Owen-Smith, 1998). Epidemiological data can be useful in health practices to help promote health and well-being and save lives by collecting data. This data should include: what? How much? When? Where? and among whom? (CDC, 2018). Epidemiological data influences changes in health practices because it gathers and analyzes all aspects of a disease process, allowing for the development of best practices and evidence-based approaches that directly impact people’s lives. Collecting epidemiological data will affect healthcare policy by revealing how things are connected and whether making improvements results in different outcomes. For example, to stop germs from infecting more people, we must break the chain of infection. The infectious agent, reservoir, portal of exit, mode of transmission, portal of entry, and susceptible host are all part of the chain. Hand hygiene has been described as essential in breaking the chain of infection based on epidemiological evidence.
Example of Epidemiology Data
The COVID-19 pandemic we are currently facing is an example of how epidemiological evidence affects improvements in health
practices. Epidemiologists collaborate with other scientists to determine who has been infected, why they have been infected, and what the CDC may do to help (CDC, 2020). Epidemiologists could pinpoint the outbreak’s source, track and control the disease, and determine risk factors, transmission mode, and the most appropriate treatment. They devise strategies for slowing the disease’s spread and reducing its effects. The guidelines include masking, social distancing, personal protective equipment (PPE), and adequate hand washing.
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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (2020). About COVID-19 Epidemiology, Investigating Covid-19: The Science Behind CDC’s Response. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/about-epidemiology/index.html
Hannaford, P. C., & Owen-Smith, V. (1998). Using epidemiological data to guide clinical practice: review of studies on cardiovascular disease and use of combined oral contraceptives. BMJ (Clinical research ed.), 316(7136), 984–987. https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.316.7136.984
As nurses, we play an important role in educating the public about epidemiology prevention. The latest pandemic of COVID-19 has been challenging for health officials and providers to take control. This present historical account of the past 800 years looks specifically at how some aspects of education were shaped from the early medieval epidemics such as leprosy and the Black Plague to the Spanish Flu and COVID-19 (Spielman, 2021). Such education focuses on hand washing, protecting ones self from the ill, quarantining and vaccination.
Spielman AI, Sunavala-Dossabhoy G. Pandemics and education: A historical review. J Dent Educ. 2021 Jun;85(6):741-746. doi: 10.1002/jdd.12615. Epub 2021 Apr 19. PMID: 33876429