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[ANSWERED] Health care planners could be more effective and efficient if they used the concept of the natural history of disease and the levels of prevention to design services that intervene at the weakest link

Assignment

Complete ALL of the bullet points below:

  • Health care planners could be more effective and efficient ithey used the concept of the natural history of disease and the levels of prevention to design services that intervene at the weakest link in the chain of progression of specific diseases. Instead, most focus on high-technology solutions to preventable problems. Assess the characteristics of the medical care culture that encourage the latter approach.

  • Hospitals and other health care institutions, whether voluntary or for-profit, need to be financially solvent to survive growing market pressures. Describe how this “bottom line” focus has changed the nature of the US health care system.

  • The insurance industry plays a huge role in the American health care system and absorbs a significant portion of the health care dollar. A single payer system, whether it is a private company or the US government, would eliminate the complex insurance paperwork burden and free substantial funds that could be diverted to support care for the under-served. Why do you believe that so much resistance to a concept used in every other developed country has continued in the U.S.?

Please submit one APA formatted paper between 1000 – 1500 words, not including the title and reference page. The assignment should have a minimum of two scholarly sources, in addition to the textbook.

Required Text

Sultz, H. A., & Young, K. A. (2017). Health care USA: Understanding its organization and delivery (9th ed.). Boston: Jones & Bartlett. ISBN: 978-1284114676

Expert Answer and Explanation

Healthcare Issues

Question 1

With the continuous advancement of technology in healthcare, the culture and approach used in tackling various healthcare issues have changed. It is without a doubt that the input of the said technologies has made work for most healthcare workers and institution more effective and efficient, which is indeed a positive aspect. However, with time, there has been overreliance of technology in dealing with most of the healthcare issues, including disease prevention and control. Over-reliance of technology has led to a lax culture in considering alternative, and at times, less costly approaches of tackling diseases, including, using the chain of progression model of dealing proactively with diseases (Lu, 2016).

There are several characteristics which describe the medical care culture that embrace a more technology-based approach to dealing with medical issues. One of them being, an intensive spending culture by medical institutions on upgrading or procurement of new medical technology. Most of the technologies used in healthcare are costly, which prompts additional financing by healthcare institutions to acquire the latest available technology in the market. Unfortunately, this cost is oftenly trickled down to the consumers of medical products/services.

Another characteristic is an increased focus of training programs on technological approaches to dealing with healthcare issues. Technology has changed the way healthcare workers analyze issues, especially with new approaches such as nursing informatics coming into play (McGonigle & Mastrian, 2014). This has prompted a shift in how training programs are structured, in that, the aspect of technology is usually given due emphasis. As a result, consideration of more effective or efficient methods other than the use of technology is rarely done.

Over-dependence on technology in most medical procedures is also another characteristic. Technology, as highlighted earlier, is, without a doubt, a positive feature in the delivery of quality care. After evaluating traditional non-technology-based approaches, they seem to be more inefficient and prone to errors. This has made more and more healthcare facilities/workers abandon most of the traditional approaches. As a result, a sense of overreliance in technology is witnessed (Lu, 2016).

Question 2

Financial management in healthcare is a thorny affair, regardless of the profitability objectives of an institution. Finding the right balance between offering quality medical care services and in a cost-effective manner is an uphill task, especially with the increasing market pressures in the healthcare industry. With the increase in medical coverage for US citizens, patients are storming to those institutions which they consider as offering quality healthcare services. As a result, there has been a complete change in healthcare market dynamics.

Having positive financial health for healthcare institution is essential in various ways. One of the main reasons is that being financially solvent can allow a healthcare institution to upgrade its technology or facilities to meet or even exceed the level of quality which is offered by most institutions. Financial stability also allows a healthcare institution to train its workforce on even employ more on a need to basis to meet the current market demands. Healthcare institutions, at times, face legal hurdles which can be very costly at times, as such, being financially solvent is paramount in the existence of those institutions.

That being the case, there are various observable implications on the entire US healthcare system. One of the major changes has been an increase in the costs of healthcare services accorded to patients. Due to the need for survival in the market, some of the healthcare services which used to be priced lower have seen a substantial increase. There has also been an increase in the expenditure by the US government on healthcare. Over commercialization of medical services has led to a trend by medical institutions to increase the costs without necessarily improving the quality of services offered, especially with the increased medical coverage.  This has brought to scrutiny the commonly used fee-for-service model used by healthcare providers (Zuvekas & Cohen, 2016).

Reduction of medical errors using various approaches by medical institutions has also been recently witnessed. The key reason, other than improving the patient outcome, being that most of these institutions are trying to minimize liabilities arising from legal suits due to preventable medical errors. This has to some point been a positive attribute which has contributed to an improvement in the quality of healthcare in the US.

Question 3

Healthcare is one of those sectors which take the largest chunks of expenditure in the US economy, with an estimated expenditure of 3.2 trillion dollars or approximately 17% of the GDP (Cuckler et al., 2018). With the introduction of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many American have been able to access quality medical services. It is without a doubt that the health insurance sector in the US has been one of the most profitable sectors, with many players crying foul over a single-payer system which will drive them out of business. The interest of such players who also contribute a substantial amount in taxes has been one of the key reasons for the resistance of universal healthcare insurance for all approach.

The continuous increment in health expenditure by the US government has also not been doing justice to the debate, with many arguing that with time, the spending will not be feasible. As a result, there are some alleged fears that whether a private entity or the government, offers health coverage, with the same expenditure trajectory, then the cost will trickle down to the ordinary citizens, which will become a significant burden for them. It is argued that it will be a bit difficult for the government to maintain such high expenditure without making some budgetary adjustment, with increment in taxes being a possible option.

The quality aspect in healthcare has been a major focus, especially with the introduction of universal health coverage. Market dynamics dictate the price and quality of services offered. Monopoly, in most cases, is said to influence the price with very little changes in the quality of products offered. For example, the fee-for-service approach which is used by most beneficiaries of Medicare and Medicaid guarantees that they are going to receive medical services, but, the surety of the same level of quality as offered to privately insured citizens, is not there (Zuvekas & Cohen, 2016). Lack of accountability accompanied in the universal coverage has, therefore contributed significantly to the opposition of the concept.

Many experts have also argued that a more market-driven approach of supply and demand is preferred since it gives the user of the insurance policy ability to choose what works best for them. Depending on their ability to pay, they can be assured of getting the level of quality care they paid for.

References

Cuckler, G. A., Sisko, A. M., Poisal, J. A., Keehan, S. P., Smith, S. D., Madison, A. J., … & Hardesty, J. C. (2018). National health expenditure projections, 2017–26: despite uncertainty, fundamentals primarily drive spending growth. Health Affairs37(3), 482-492.

Lu, J. (2016). Will Medical Technology Deskill Doctors?. International Education Studies9(7), 130-134.

McGonigle, D., & Mastrian, K. G. (Eds.). (2014). Nursing informatics and the foundation of knowledge. Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Zuvekas, S. H., & Cohen, J. W. (2016). Fee-for-service, while much maligned, remains the dominant payment method for physician visits. Health Affairs35(3), 411-414.

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