Some of the key drivers affecting the U. S. healthcare delivery system are cost of care, increase in need for healthcare workers and the demographics and needs of the patients. An article written by Ed O’Neil states, “the first and most overwhelming factor will be the current cost of care. At greater than 16% of the nation’s total productive effort, the US approach to organizing and delivering health care services is the most expensive in the world in the aggregate and per person” (2008, p. 1).
Health care expenditures have seen a great increase throughout the years and there is much debate about what can be done to not only control the costs and to cut down the costs, but also how funding for health care will come into play. There is also an increased need for health care workers in the health care system as well. With the increase in demand for services, there is an increase in demand for workers as well. The demographics and needs of the patient are also changing due to the change in the population in America.
This is also reflected in the overall increase in cost and the demand for more workers. Currently costs are increasing and expected to continue to rise if there are not changes made. Costs are a concern in not only the public health service system, but also in the private sector as well. In the private sector, there are many issues related to costs, on the provider side but the consumer side as well. In the book, Delivering Healthcare in America: A Systems Approach, it states, “The greatest challenge in insurance is maintaining a balance between healthy and sick enrollees” (2008, p. 69). Insurance companies and private medical coverage must make sure there is a balance of enrollees because having an unbalanced amount will lead to higher cost for the providers and will result in high cost for the consumer. Consumers also have high costs with high insurance coverage premiums, high co-pay amounts and high deductibles. There has also been growth in the expenditures for Medicaid and Medicare program recipients as well. The above mentioned book also states that the “total enrollment in Medicaid has increased from 33. 5 million in 2000 to 44. million in 2003” (2008, p. 566). These numbers and costs are expected to increase in the future unless there are interventions and measures that can be put into place to reduce the overall costs of healthcare in America. There is an increase demand of healthcare workers in America as a result of the increasing number of people that access healthcare and services. One reason for this increase in demand is as a result of the changing population in America. The “baby boomer” generation is living longer and has impacted the amount of people accessing care in America.
Along with new technologies that are helping people live longer and the ability to manage more chronic diseases, the needs in healthcare are changing. There is going to be a greater need for services that are directly related to the elderly population such as long term care, assisted care facilities and workers that specialize in elder care. There will also be a need for more workers to manage these chronic conditions that people are living longer lives with. Some changes that I would like to see enacted are more of a focus on preventative care and primary care and universal health coverage for all Americans.
Preventative care and primary care are important aspects of healthcare because they both have an impact on reducing the overall cost of care to both the consumer and the healthcare industry. For an example, if a person has high blood pressure but has a good primary care physician that can monitor and treat their condition, it will likely reduce incidents where the patient might have to seek emergency care or treatment related to a serious elevation in their blood pressure.
However, if you have a patient that has the same condition but no primary care physician, they might only seek medical attention if they are having an episode of extremely high blood pressure and treatment is more costly and they are more likely to seek care through emergency services. Preventative care has been proven to be effective in reducing the need for treating more serious conditions such as routine PAP smears for women can result in early detection of cervical cancer which can be treated early on or prostate screening can prevent the progression on prostate cancer and be successfully treated.
The implications for the patient are obvious, their health outcomes are much better and they are able to live longer and healthier lives. For administrators, the implications are in the reduction of costs for treatment and care. For example, an administrator at a nursing facility might not have to incur certain expenses if the residents are being cared for by a primary care physician on a regular basis and they are still being able to participate in preventative screenings and checkups.
Universal healthcare has been an issue that is recently in the forefront due to political changes that are going into effect to make this a possibility in America. There are other countries around the world that provide healthcare for all citizens and America does not. This has been in part a reflection of the value system in America as well there has not been a good plan to make this happen that people can agree on and support. There has been the basic belief that people deserve a minimum access to basic healthcare but not that all people deserve equal access to healthcare in this country.
Patient would greatly benefit from this because it would give those that are uninsured the change to have medical coverage and it would also allow many people to access to quality care and to access care quicker and thereby reducing some of the situations where people access care when their conditions are more serious and need more treatment than if they were able to access care sooner. For healthcare administrators, this would also have an impact because the need for care would grow, thereby creating the need for more staff and more resources.
It also would increase the need for a focus on patient centered quality care because many patients will have options for healthcare that they might not have had before. In conclusion, there are many challenges that the healthcare system in the U. S faces, however, there is always a need to look at ways that the system can be improved. Although there are some areas that healthcare falls short in, such as increasing costs and rising demand for workers, the goal is to provide quality healthcare for all people and to treat the sick when they need it.
There is a long way to go to see reform of the current system but with healthcare workers and patients working to come together on solutions and engaging patients in their own care, the healthcare system can make great strides in improvement to promote better patient outcomes which is beneficial for all parties involved in the patient’s care. References Shi, L. , & Singh, D. A. (2008). Delivering health care in America: A systems approach (4th ed. ). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett. www. futurehealth. ucsf. edu/from_the_director. hmtl. 2008, O’Neil, E.