Putting Data Where You Want it in Population Health

A woman in the military holding her baby.
Military women deserve modern health care strategies which track and manage their unique situations.

Oftentimes, when I think about population health it is in the context of chronic illness assessment. However, a few months ago, I was walking down the hall of a very large west coast U.S. Army hospital and bells chimed over the loud speaker. Everyone in the halls paused and smiled, and some even clapped. The bells mark the birth of a baby.

Today’s women soldiers represent 16% of the total Army population (2013). Yet for that population, there are unique occupational exposures. Using technology to track and link the emerging military woman’s work demands with ongoing medical care will provide new insight for primary prevention.

For example, approximately 75% of new female military recruits and approximately 40% of all female veterans are of reproductive age. This means that population health for military women ranges from woman’s healthcare access to education and obstetrics. Fifty thousand babies born are born in military hospitals each year. Women in the military are healthy, of reproductive age, and exposed to occupational health risks associated with their work. Exciting advances in primary prevention include technology that connects personal health tracking with digital wristbands, weight scales, etc., which, when connected to providers, make care plans individual. Additionally, tracking new healthcare ICD-10 codes can link occupational work risks, and primary prevention. These new ICD-10 codes are the first time that specific work place and environmental exposures can be linked within a digital medical record.

Technology can put data where you want it to create a more complete context of health and wellness. Military women deserve modern health care strategies which track and manage their unique situations.

The “baby bells” rang again during our meeting on the last day I was on base. I smiled and floated back to the memories of when I gave birth to each of my two sons. And this time, I sent a silent prayer of safety, hope and well wishes to the new family!

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