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    Epidemiology, An Indispensable Tool For Clinicians Essay

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    Epidemiology is defined as the study of the distribution and determinants of health and disease in human populations. Basically, what this boils down to is that epidemiology is population based. Epidemiology is increasingly important in medicine and the well being of the population. The insights generated by epidemiology over the past half century have led to the development of a range of specific public health measures designed to improve the health of the population. Epidemiology is the basic science of both preventive medicine and evidence-based practice, and as such is becoming an indispensable tool for clinicians generally and GPs in particular.

    The epidemiologist attempts to place clinical or other observations in the context of the population as a whole. Epidemiology can help to make a community diagnosis. In epidemiology, data on the health problem in the population are organized and summarized by time, place and person (Stone, D., 2004). This data is obtained through several measures. Mortality, morbidity, disability, and quality measures as used in epidemiology to better access the distribution (frequency) and determinants of health and disease in human populations (Scutchfield & Keck, 2003).

    The mortality rate quantifies the frequency of occurrence of death in a defined population during a specific period (Stone, D., 2004). Mortality is an especially popular measure. This health outcome has been used as a measure of disease burden. Mortality has its limitations as a measure of disease burden because death I relatively rare health event. Compared to other measures, however, mortality has the advantage of being undeniably important and easy to define and count.

    Even though mortality increases with age, simple mortality m. .ty rate, while commonly used and roughly comparable around the world, reflects only an absolute change. The analysis of epidemiologic data includes not only manipulation of numbers, but also transforming numbers into information that can lead to the control or prevention of a health problem. Summary measures are employed to attempt to assess overall health status of a population. These measures usually combine morbidity, mortality, and disability data but can also reflect perceived quality of life or functional status.

    For example, physical functioning, mental and emotional well being, social functioning, general health perceptions, pain, energy, and vitality have all been used to assess health status (Thacker SB, Stroup DF, Carande-Kulis V, Marks JS, Roy K, Gerberding JL, 2006). Epidemiology is increasingly important in medicine and the well being of the population.

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