Healthcare and policing violence: The need to work together

By | September 19, 2017

Health in the United States has become segmented and siloed. Failing to acknowledge the connections between situations that impact us, leads us to miss opportunities to fully explore creating models that improve results. Violence remains a leading cause of healthcare issues, both from a quality of life and cost perspective.

While those in healthcare and law enforcement understand the issues violence cause, we do not contemplate how we can efficiently coordinate our efforts. One example includes an improved examination of available data. What are the violence trends, and how can we intervene in high-risk areas? Can I implement data shared by law enforcement to obtain a clearer idea of what might be happening with my patient? Does my patient live in a high-risk area? Then, how does that adjust how I consider engaging? Instead, we have become adept at addressing problems after they happen.

We in healthcare under report violence. Violence comprises numerous forms – both physical and mental. We have significant data, yet we are not seeking correlations, and thus, we have a difficult time determining anything dealing with the results. What if we began to share our information with law enforcement? Could they identify trends and increase patrolling and community outreach programs? Collectively, perhaps we could work jointly to solve a large problem.

Policing can be a public health response to violence. The healthcare delivery system can play a role in an area that historically has been viewed as purely living in the criminal justice system. If we genuinely wish to improve the health and well-being of those we serve, we need to identify areas where working in sync in innovative and creative ways could decrease violence and the impact it has on individuals and the healthcare system.