Healthy People 2020 is a set of public health objectives which was created to improve the quality of the nation’s heath by identifying problematic areas, providing measurable objectives, and tracking the progress to evaluate the effectiveness of prevention activities (Phase I Report, 2008, p. 8).
Phase I Report outlines the framework of Healthy People 2020 and provides guidelines for its implementation. The recommendations in the report are intended for a wide range of people, from policy-makers to health care providers. The authors emphasize that the report is targeted at a wider group of people whose actions have significant health consequences (Phase I Report, 2008, p. 38). In my practice as a nurse, I have recognized the fact that improving the quality of care and meeting Healthy People 2020 objectives is a collaborative effort which should include the effort from the general public, policy-makers, and medical personnel.
Healthcare personnel are, no doubt, on the frontline of health care, and their knowledge and experience are invaluable to power players in the legislative arena. As a nurse I have witnessed the way nurse leaders helped transform healthcare by raising awareness, collaborating with other nurses, and sharing their collective experience with policy makers.
Another Healthy People report highlighted the need to use the evidence-based approach in public health (Evidence-Based Clinical and Public Health: Generating and Applying the Evidence, 2010, p. 3). Evidence-based practice means using best available clinical evidence to make informed diagnostic and treatment decisions. In my nursing practice, I have witnessed the way evidence improved diagnostic decisions when applied into clinical practice. In order to meet Healthy People 2020 objectives, nurses must be knowledgeable consumers of research and use it in their clinical practice.
The program of Healthy People 2020 allows practitioners to evaluate and prioritize short-term and long-term goals in order to facilitate change in the field of public health.
It is general knowledge that in spite of the rising health care costs, the quality of health in the United States remains low. Childhood obesity, aging population, and discrepancies in the quality of health are among the problems Healthy People 2020 aims to address. In order to improve the quality of care, the authors propose a complex approach to tackling the problem of the nation’s health. They emphasize the need to provide a framework which could be used to address health concerns on different levels (Fielding, 2010).
In my nursing practice, I saw the effect community level interventions on childhood obesity had on children with excessive weight. Public awareness campaigns made parents concerned about their children’s excessive weight. While individual-level interventions are also effective, in order to meet Healthy People 2020 objectives it is necessary to use complex approach and address health concerns on multiple levels. Using only individual interventions is not enough to overcome current health problems.
In the light of recent reforms of health care aimed at improving the quality and accessibility of health care services, the application of patient care information technology can be seen as a viable solution to overcoming current health care issues. Healthy People 2020 emphasize the role technology plays in healthcare education (Phase I Report, 2008). In my nursing practice, I saw the benefits the technology brings to hospital settings. Digital medical records and computerized order prescription systems establish information flow between practitioners and are vital to meeting Healthy People 2020 objectives.