Health Services Organization
This paper will focus on issues of the health care system in the United States. First the paper will identify and evaluate three forces that have affected the development of the health care system in the U. S. An evaluation will be made on whether or not the three forces identified will continue to affect the health care system of the United States over the next decade. Other than the three forces mentioned initially, the paper will identify one other force that is believed to have impacted the nation’s health care system. The paper will conclude with an evaluation of how technology plays an important role in health care.
One can find several forces that have an effect on the development of the U. S. health care system. Those forces include social, political, behavioral, technological and economic. For the sake of this paper, the three that will be elaborated on are social, behavioral and economic. Also, socioeconomic factors can often be seen interacting along with social factors and that can affect the development of the health care system. The social factor of population size has a big impact on health care. The population of the U. S. has grown for a couple reasons. One is due to the natural order of population increase.
One other reason is that there is a higher number of births when compared to the rate of deaths. Another factor that affects population is the increased number of the aging population. Older people are healthier and more functional than previous generations. They live a more active lifestyle with increased social activities. The aging population can impact the burden of health care costs on younger workers. The tax dollars the working age population pay help fund health care costs for the aging population. The trends of today in terms of fertility, abortion and mortality are included in the social factors of age, gender and sex.
These factors have an effect currently on the development of the health care system and will continue to do so. (Williams, S. & Torrens, P, 2010). Behavioral factors that can affect the health care system include lifestyle patterns and diseases. Advances have been made, and continue to be made, in the field of treatment and prevention of diseases. Even with those advances, the lifestyles and behaviors of the people in the U. S. will continually affect the development of health care. Until the rise of the AIDS virus, the mortality rate of infectious diseases had decreased.
A significant health issue has always been about controlling infectious diseases. The health care system should continue to remain focused on issues such as chronic diseases, infectious diseases and new outbreaks of diseases. This is where lifestyle pattern and behaviors can affect development. In addition to chronic diseases and infections, exposure to violence, vehicular accidents, alcohol and drug use are other factors that affect health care systems. Another role our behavior plays in affecting health care is the use of tobacco products which can cause diseases such as cardiovascular disease, lung disease, lung cancer and oral cancer.
Sexual behaviors can also impact health care with the spread of sexually transmitted diseases that can lead to increased infertility, cancer or other complications. Stress can cause breakdowns and deterioration the immune system. Other behavior issues such as morbidity and mortality, as stated in the text by Williams and Torrens, can be linked to behavior, social interaction, lifestyle and other non-physiological determinants. Addressing social and behavior issues is not an easy task. There are many challenges to modifying behavior.
The failure of our society to address social, behavioral and economic causes of disease adequately in this new century will continue to affect us and the development of the healthcare system (Williams, S. & Torrens, P, 2010). Employment and health coverage costs are part of the economic structure and part of the financial access to healthcare. The downturn of the economy did not see employers dropping or restricting coverage; however in some cases they may have reduced costs by realigning the offered benefits or sharing the cost with the employee.
The economic issue affecting the health care system is that there is now a change in employer sponsored healthcare coverage. Some changes include employees no longer offering health care as a benefit. This will continue to be an issue in the healthcare system if the economy remains in recession (American Medical Association, 2005). Another change is penalties for lifestyles and behaviors such as an increase in medical insurance cost for smokers. The forces mentioned in this paper will continue to affect health care because of the failure to address these factors in the near future.
The health care system is steady working on addressing issues, but the people using the health care system must address the issues as well. They need to work on improving their lifestyles and behaviors and turning the risky behavior around by making themselves more aware of the risks of what they are doing. A force that was not talked about but that affects health care is technology. Technology has impacted many areas in health care. Such areas can be found in the economy, the clinical setting, impact on patients and insurance companies and also society and government.
The health care system has seen an increase in the cost of drugs and pharmaceuticals. There is also an increase in the costs of medical testing and surgery procedures due to technology. The U. S. is advancing in technology in health care and we are seeing more expensive technologies being used. People want the best care and see advancements in technology as being the best that they can get. More physicians are using more advanced technology as it is becoming more widely available. One disadvantage is that when technology is brand new, most insurance will not pay for it right away as they see some new tests and procedures as investigational.
Technology plays a very important role in health care. Technology can be used to store and organize patient records and information. Technology such as EMR (electronic medical records) allow doctors to look at the patient’s whole history including medication history, surgical history and medical history allowing them to be better informed on the patient and allowing them to take better care of the patient. Technology allows medical images to be captured and uploaded to one place that the doctor can access in real time. Technology is ever evolving bringing about new equipment to use for medical images or surgeries.
Surgeons are using robots to assist with surgery, resulting in quicker recovery time, less pain and shorter stays in the hospital. CT scans are being used now for screening tools in those patients with a higher risk of lung cancer. A new blood test is being promoted to use as an aid to physicians for the early detection of lung cancer in high risk populations. The serum test looks at elevations in a select group of auto-antibodies, and an elevation of any one of them suggests that a tumor might be present, before visible to the eye.