Healthcare Challenges in the United States Essay

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The Greatest Challenge to US Healthcare

The role is played by the government

The role played by the government in healthcare is a divisive issue. Many healthcare organizations executives do support the idea of extending healthcare coverage to the uninsured, however, who this is implemented is the cause of concern. There are numerous changes that are taking place in the healthcare industry and the government needs to catch up quickly. Policy development is the role of government and there is a need to ensure that there are timely and applicable policies in place to govern the provision of healthcare services to the masses. As it stands, healthcare is moving from fee-for-service to value outcomes and there should be policies in place to support this advanced move. Providers have been moving towards value-driven care and the government policies should be able to mirror this movement. While not all providers will be willing to adopt this strategy, with government intervention it would be possible to enforce this move. The government is involved in all spheres of healthcare and this is done by the development and implementation of policies that ensure that healthcare is accessible to all individuals irrespective (Zhang, Qiu, Tsai, Hassan, & Alamri, 2017).

The government is also involved in the financing of healthcare. Financing is in the form of offering subsidies to those who are not able to pay for healthcare services. This will ensure that even those who do not have insurance coverage or Medicaid will be able to access healthcare services when they need them. Financing should not only be seen in terms of subsidies, but also in terms of other services that are linked to healthcare. Sewerage systems, pest control, and water purification are directly linked to healthcare. If there is an issue with either of the three it will result in the breakout of a disease. Therefore, disease prevention methods should be in place and there should be systems to ensure that the outbreak of diseases is prevented. Facilitation and not hindrance should be the role of the government (Adler-Milstein et al., 2015). Facilitation is terms of ensuring that water is treated before it gets to consumers. There should also be good pest control strategies that will ensure that pests are kept at bay and they are not allowed to breed. This will guarantee that people will be healthy and there will not require healthcare services. Sewerage systems should also be well directed and treated. This is directly linked to government and facilitation of these will be beneficial to healthcare.

Legislation should not be used to create bipartisan complications. All legislation should be conducted in consultation with the healthcare executives to ensure that the legislation passed will not drive a wedge between service provision and the patients. Legislation should be aimed at offering coverage to the uninsured and by working together with the private insurance companies it is possible to increase coverage. A case in point has been Massachusetts where legislation has allowed for the increase in the number of the uninsured to insured. Creating structures for expanding both private and public insurance should be the main goal of government legislation. This will expand the coverage population and it will drive down the costs of healthcare. There have been critics who have argued that government legislation will increase the costs of healthcare tremendously, however, this has not been the case in Massachusetts. With an increase in the number of the insured, healthcare costs have only risen marginally.

Current Trends in Healthcare

Technology has played a vital role in the delivery of healthcare. However, with advances in technology, there are numerous challenges that come up. For example, privacy issues have been on the rise with the implementation of healthcare management systems. Patient data can easily be shared with other providers and therein lies the problem. Transmission of this data should be safeguarded to ensure that it cannot be intercepted while it is being transmitted. Access to the patient records should also be safeguarded to ensure that only authorized individuals have access to the data. Even those who have been authorized to access the data, there should be roles assigned to each individual to ensure that they only access what pertains to their particular role or work. Advances in information technology are in themselves challenging to the healthcare industry. Healthcare organizations are struggling to implement systems that will ensure there is an improvement in the delivery of care and this takes up a huge chunk of finances.

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While the end goal is awesome, it might have an impact on the care provided to the patients while the systems are being implemented.

While biotechnology offers tremendous advantages to the healthcare systems and provision of healthcare services. It also offers challenges to healthcare. Modification of humans could alter the meaning of humanity. With increased advances in biotechnology, there is the potential that it becomes easy to create a virus or even develop pathogens that are destructive. Therefore, care should be taken to ensure that biotechnology is not used for the wrong purposes. This would only be possible by the development of policies that govern the usage of biotechnology. While scientists have been researching and experimenting with viruses with an aim to predict and prevent any adverse mutations. It becomes easy for the virus to be released accidentally. Research is always well documented and this makes it easy for others with ill intentions to access the publications and they can use them to make dangerous modifications of organisms. Engineering of pathogens means that it is possible for them to be made even more dangerous than the naturally occurring pathogens.

Smartphones have made it easy for people to access healthcare information. By using mobile healthcare, it is now easy for patients to access quality treatment and advice from a doctor at the comfort of their home. The challenge with this is that the delivery of the data might be easily compromised. In case the patient has an infected device, they can easily transmit the virus to the healthcare providers systems and this might result in the loss of data or breach of privacy. The validity of the information being delivered could also be compromised. Patients might not be certain they have installed or they are using an approved system for interacting with the doctor. This would lead to information that is not correct and it might aggravate the situation. The data that is delivered to the healthcare provider should also be verifiable and the devices used to gather the data must be trustworthy. This is hard because patients will use different devices and they will report the measurements as given by their particular device, which might be off or incorrect. Therefore, there should be standardized devices that can be verified and trusted for usage in the gathering of patient data.

Storage of data in the cloud offers other challenges to healthcare. This is because the data can be hacked easily when stored in the cloud. While it might be hard to physically access the information storage servers, hackers have devised different methodologies that they can use to access the data. Considering that most of the services are shared, this means that one server could be used by different companies or individuals and there is a risk that one can access the information if they understand the storage mechanisms implemented in the servers.

The Impact of Various Stakeholders and Influencers

Healthcare stakeholders are charged with the creation of policies and systems that will ensure the proper delivery of care to the patients. While their main objective is delivery of care, they are also required to ensure that they reduce the operating costs of their institution. Cost cutting has been one of the challenges that many healthcare institutions have had to contend with. Reducing the operating costs means that some services have to be cut or reduced and this has a direct impact on healthcare delivery (Bai & Anderson, 2015). Stakeholders who are only concerned with reducing the costs of the organization lose sight of what is needed and this means that some essential services might be cut. For example, staffing levels in most healthcare organizations have been on the decline and this is mainly due to the cost-cutting measures implemented. Nurses are the most affected yet they are the ones who are directly charged with caring for the patients. Reduced numbers of nursing staff result in the few nurses having to work long shifts and this impacts their morale. Overworked nurses are more likely to make mistakes when compared to nurses who are well rested.

Staffing is not the only restriction that might impact the delivery of healthcare. There are also organizational policies that are limiting to the employees or restrictive and punitive. Stakeholders should ensure that their employees have the leeway to make decisions based on their current challenges and requirements. With overly restrictive policies it becomes hard for the….....

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Adler-Milstein, J., DesRoches, C. M., Kralovec, P., Foster, G., Worzala, C., Charles, D., . . . Jha, A. K. (2015). Electronic health record adoption in US hospitals: progress continues, but challenges persist. Health Affairs, 34(12), 2174-2180.

Bai, G., & Anderson, G. F. (2015). Extreme markup: the fifty US hospitals with the highest charge-to-cost ratios. Health Affairs, 34(6), 922-928.

Grover, A., Orlowski, J. M., & Erikson, C. E. (2016). The nation? s physician workforce and future challenges. The American journal of the medical sciences, 351(1), 11-19.

Hart, P. L., & Mareno, N. (2014). Cultural challenges and barriers through the voices of nurses. Journal of clinical nursing, 23(15-16), 2223-2233.

Zhang, Y., Qiu, M., Tsai, C.-W., Hassan, M. M., & Alamri, A. (2017). Health-CPS: Healthcare cyber-physical system assisted by cloud and big data. IEEE Systems Journal, 11(1), 88-95.

Zuchowski, J. L., Rose, D. E., Hamilton, A. B., Stockdale, S. E., Meredith, L. S., Yano, E. M., . . . Cordasco, K. M. (2015). Challenges in referral communication between VHA primary care and specialty care. Journal of general internal medicine, 30(3), 305-311.

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