3 Public Health Hot Topics for 2014

At the beginning of every New Year, experts and professionals take a look at the past year’s hot topics, advancements, and opportunities for growth. With this, predictions are made for what hot topics will arise as the year progresses and what others in the industry may expect.

SurroundHealth member, Tammy Pilisuk, MPH, gave us her insights for the realm of public health in our latest SurroundHealth article, “Public Health Top 10 List for 2014”. Here are the three off of her list:

1. ACA: exchanges/Medicaid expansion. Despite ACA critics, web portal issues will have been a small blip and the real challenges will begin—helping newly insured consumers navigate and use the health care system. Meanwhile, Medicaid expansion will also be successfully transitioning 8.9 million formerly uninsured low-income Americans in 24 states on to Medicaid.  Navigators would certainly help. And let’s put this tool to good use: Helping Consumers Understand and Use Health Insurance in 2014.  Now get out there and give ‘em health care.

2. HPV vaccine uptake. A lot of attention was brought to bear on 2 facts: this past year’s HPV vaccine uptake numbers lost momentum, with a slight decline in the percentage of girls vaccinated between 2011 (34.8%) and 2012 (33.4%).  Despite the poor overall vaccination rates, research shows an impressive 56% decline in HPV infections  since the vaccine was introduced. Pilisuk predicts a redoubling of efforts to promote a strong provider recommendation for preteens—both boys and girls. Expect creative new approaches and best practices.

3. Health literacy and public health.   In November 2013, the IOM convened its Health Literacy Roundtable to specifically reframe  health literacy as a public health issue. This is a terrific opportunity for us to look at how we incorporate HL into our public health infrastructure. A survey of state health departments, presented at the meeting, found that many health departments either did not participate in HL activities or did not have a way to recognize that they did. Let’s see where it leads.

To read the full Top 10 list, visit us on SurroundHealth.

What are your predictions for the year?

Feel free to share your ideas for the upcoming year in any healthcare topic area—we’d be happy to hear from you, either on SurroundHealth or in the comment section below!

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