US Health Care System
Despite the high growth rate of the US health care system in the last five decades, there has been numerous issues that have impacted the health sector. Among the major issues are increased health care cost, unaccountable variations in performance and limited access to healthcare among several Americans. These issues have contributed to the commercialization of health care sector, which the opposite of the historic charitable and social welfare organization. Heath care providers have also changed their attitude towards entrepreneur and competition in the industry. The major stakeholders in the health care systems have influenced shaping of the current health care system through their power, value and roles. Currently, there is much effort to restructure the health care system in order to improve service delivery as well as reduce cost.
Various questions have emerged in the effort to restructure the system. Among the major questions is whether the government should take a more aggressive role in addressing the issue of cost access and quality of care or should the market be allowed to reshape the system. In my opinion, the government being the main stakeholders of healthcare system should use its power and influence to control cost, ensure access and improve the quality of healthcare delivery. It is the right of every citizen to access health care services in the country. Therefore, the government should intervene and ensure all citizens have access to primary health care services. Some of the intervention includes building health care facilities in all parts of the country where they can be accessed by locals and providing healthcare providers in these facilities (Andersen, Rice & Kominski 49).
The government should also ensure that health care services are affordable to all citizens. It should implement measures that aim at lowering the cost of health care services to patients such as subsidizing health care services. Other programs to lower cost include performance-based care where providers are compensated for their performance. Additionally, the government should also work with private insurance companies that to enable citizens manage their health. The government should also ensure that the quality of care delivered is satisfactory to patients. This can be achieved by regularly monitoring the performance of medical practitioners. Performance based care ensures that patients receive quality care (Burwell 87).
The other major question that arises is whether the cost of care can be reduced and still gives the public the health care freedom such as choosing the physicians and other aspects of managed care. Most of the incentives to reduce cost in the health care systems reduce the freedom of the patient to the choice of physicians. For example, in the managed care system, the patient is only limited to obtain health care services to specific physicians by the purchaser of the health policy. If the patient, choose to seek services from another physician he or she incurs an additional cost. Some consumer initiatives to manage cost in health care also give patients the limited choice to balance cost and benefits. Many insurance companies will limit their customers from obtaining health care services from certain health care facilities and at times, the quality of care may be compromising. To reduce cost, some insurers also restrict the range of choices that a patient desires when obtaining health care services. Nevertheless, some government incentives can reduce cost and still give the citizens the freedom to choice the care they desire (Burwell 92).
It is also urged that health care institutions need to be financially solvent to survive the current market pressure. The major question that arises is how this bottom line has changed the natures of health care system in the US. The need for health care institution has affected the health care industry in the US. The issued can be regarded as the main contributing factor to the increased health care cost. Most of the health care institutions are charging a high medical fee to meet the current market pressure such as competition (Andersen, Rice & Kominski 63). There is high competition between private and public health care institutions where private institutions are paying high salaries to attract talented medical practitioner. To keep at par, public health care institutions are also paying high salaries to retain their workforce. High medical care aimed to enable the health care institutions to sustain themselves to the rising operation cost.
Reasons why Patients Should Take a Proactive Role in Their Medical Care
In the current health care arena, patients are encouraged to participate in decisions relating to their health care. The patients should discuss with the physicians prior to delivery of care. The main reason why a patient should take a role in making decisions about their care is to help in improving the quality of care. Research indicates that patients who participate in decisions about their care have a better outcome than others. This is because they are able to share their medical history that helps physicians to determine the best care. Additionally, participating in the decision of their health care gives patients a chance to discuss the cost of care. Interaction with the patient helps patients to understand the procedure to be followed during treatment, and the timeframe of the treatment hence they can manage the cost of the treatment (Rathert, Brandt & Williams 327).
Taking part in health care decisions also helps the patient to evaluate the quality of care administered. Through discussion with the physician, a patient understands the likely outcomes of the treatment and the procedure to be followed. Hence, he can determine the quality of care by evaluating whether the right procedures were followed and whether the expected outcomes were achieved. Other stakeholders of healthcare system such as insurance companies, hospital management, and quality assurance personnel among others can also be able to monitor the quality of care delivered (Rathert, Brandt & Williams 327).
How Natural History of Disease Influence Levels of Disease Prevention
Buisson, et al. (625) indicates that knowing the natural history of disease can help in the progression of specific diseases. However, in the current health care systems, most Medicare programs focus on high technology solutions to prevent diseases. The government is currently emphasizing, use of the natural history of diseases to prevent most diseases. The approach has proved effective in preventing progression of chronic diseases such diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart attack. Knowing the history of a disease helps in reducing its risk factors hence low risk of its progression (Buisson, et al., 627).
As indicated, the increasing medical cost and declining population led many rural hospitals to shift their services from inpatient to ambulatory care services. Some also changed their inpatient services to long-term care services. Consequently, staffing of the rural hospital is also relaxed. The main question emerges whether the current system of care discriminates rural citizens from accessing similar quality of care available in urban areas. In my opinion, most of the rural citizens are having a problem in accessing primary care. Most of them travel a long distance to obtain health care services. Most of the rural hospitals are also understaffed hence compromising the quality of care. Nevertheless, the government is taking every initiative that will ensure equality between rural and urban citizen is health care delivery.
Andersen, Ronald M., Thomas H. Rice, and Gerald F. Kominski. Changing the US health care system: Key issues in health services policy and management. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
Buisson, A., et al. “Review article: the natural history of postoperative Crohn’s disease recurrence.” Alimentary pharmacology & therapeutics 35.6 (2012): 625-633.
Burwell, Sylvia M. “Setting value-based payment goals—HHS efforts to improve US health care.” New England Journal of Medicine 372.10 (2015): 897-899.
Rathert, Cheryl, Julie Brandt, and Eric S. Williams. “Putting the ‘patient’in patient safety: a qualitative study of consumer experiences.” Health Expectations 15.3 (2012): 327-336.