The role of communities in enhancing health is receiving increasing and long overdue attention in health policy and practice. Notably, stronger recognition of the role communities can play, and a greater involvement are required if there is to be a successful move to population health systems. 

Besides this shift in focus, sustainability and transformation partnerships, integrated care systems and the united healthcare community plan need to seriously play the role communities can play in improving and sustaining good health. 

What is a ‘Community’?

In community health and care services, the term ‘community’ can be used in various ways. First, it can be used to describe a group of people with similar health needs. For instance, a group of people with diabetes, a group receiving similar health services, or a group of people who shape or provide services. The local voluntary and community sector supports and represents such communities and provides services to them. 

What is the Role of Communities in Improving Health?

United healthcare community planThere is now an outstanding recognition that communities have a crucial role in improving health and wellbeing. There are several (overlapping) reasons for this, including the following.

  • The communities we are born, live, work, and socialize in have a major influence on how healthy we are. Even though estimates differ about how much influence, these factors have a much greater influence on our health than health care. For example, we understand that social isolation is as bad for health as some common health behaviors like smoking for some communities. Therefore, strong communities are good for health.
  • There are numerous ‘assets’ within communities, such as skills and knowledge. These assets can be mobilized to promote health and wellbeing.
  • From a health care perspective, communities have great insight and intelligence on what is required from health services and what works to enhance health. Linked to this, directly involving people from the most marginalized groups and those most likely to be affected by health inequalities, is vital in addressing these inequalities through formal health services and other means.

Health Policy and The Role of Communities in Health

In recent years, the recognition of the essential link between communities and health has grown. This has been reflected in the growing significance and voice of community-focused organizations and partnerships and national programs and policy by the united healthcare providers.

In our view, sustainability and transformation partnerships and integrated care systems may not be successful if they do not take communities’ role in improving and sustaining good health seriously when it comes to united healthcare plans.

Examples of Community Involvement in Health

There are various ways to support communities to improve their health and enjoy united healthcare community plan benefits. Community commissioning and Community development and approaches often focus on strengthening and mobilizing capability within a community and helping communities to enhance their health themselves, while involving communities in service design and pathways of care by definition include closer connections with formal health and care services.

Examples of approaches to supporting communities to enhance their health are given below. Nevertheless, in practice at local level most activity involves a blend of these methods. 

Community Development

These approaches comprise strengthening communities without necessarily relying on formal health and care services, so that they can improve their own health or factors that affect their health. Community development often puts an emphasis on equality and inclusion, by promoting the voice of those communities who are less often heard.  

Communities and Service Design

Community health and care servicesMost United healthcare community plan providers use these approaches include communities directly in the choice and design of services.

Community Organizations in Pathways of Care

These approaches entail expanding the scope of services the health system is able to provide. That often to include those that support social rather than medical models of care.

Community Commissioning

These methods give communities greater control over the commissioning of services they receive in health and care services and other services that impact their health. 

Notably, that implies that community involvement in, or leadership of, any or all stages of service planning, from identifying needs to implementing and evaluating services. For more information about united healthcare providers, contact health insurance today!

References and Resources 

Relationship between communities and health 

United healthcare plans