|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Medicine Money Healthcare policy Human services|
The main reason why our country critically needs healthcare reforms is that we spend more on healthcare than any other nation in the world; even after all this spending, the outcomes in health are still lower than other western countries (Kesselheim, 2016). There is evidence supporting that the elimination of the profit motive from healthcare institutions and the removal of this mentality can be an excellent way of reducing the cost of healthcare services. According to Dafny & Lee 2016, the current system in practice is flawed since the daily income of healthcare professionals depends on how much they do within a specified period. The systems of payment have different numerical codes, and more recorded medical services by the doctors translate to more income earned on that particular day (Kesselheim, 2016). This profit motive ideology becomes a background for many medical decisions made by the doctors. This means that doctors are more likely to recommend the more expensive treatment alternatives even if they know about other affordable options. Their motive is to make profits, and this means that the patients have to pay more to meet this need. For instance, when a surgeon knows he will earn a lot of money by performing a certain procedure, he/she will choose the expensive procedure even when there are other better and less expensive alternatives.
The research proposes a solution to counter this problem and suggests that doctors should be paid regular salaries which are independent of the services they provide. This move will make them side with the patients and recommend to them the best and most cost-effective healthcare choices. Dafny & Lee 2016 recommends healthcare systems should employ their staff and all their doctors on regular salaries, and this will ensure that excellent medical services are always provided at affordable costs. When employees are paid independent of the medical decisions they make, and on regular salaries, they will do what is best for all patients. Putting providers of healthcare on monthly salaries will ensure collected money saves on healthcare expenses (Hussey, 2013). This move will help to avoid high profit and unnecessary services since doctors will recommend the most affordable alternatives to their patients.
Daffy and lee 2016, also suggest that the dragon of healthcare costs can also be slain through the use of competition. Their research advocates the creation of competitive markets for either selling healthcare services or selling healthcare insurances. Competition is made to be more effective when consumers are given options to purchase their health insurances or choose the healthcare facility they consider meets their specific needs. Over recent years, the practices of physicians have been consolidating, and the number of hospital mergers has been on a high. According to research, about 1700 hospital mergers have taken place in the last twenty years; the majority of urban areas currently have from one to three dominant hospitals (Hussey, 2013). This lack of competition is a significant reason as to why the costs of healthcare have been increasing continuously. When hospitals lack competition in the market, they tend to have higher prices which continue to even grow with time (Alpern, 2014). Studies performed on patients who had heart attacks indicated that patients treated in hospitals that do not face a lot of competition are more likely to die a year later after the heart attack while those treated in hospitals with the higher competition are likely to live longer. These results are clear evidence of the dangers of monopolies in providing Medicare, and thus competition is significant. According to Alpern et al. (2014), the healthcare industry should have managed competition for different players to compete with each other on level ground.
Demand-Based Healthcare Strategy
A demand-based approach in healthcare can significantly help to reduce the excess costs associated with healthcare. People should be taught how to make the best purchasing decisions in healthcare the same way they make purchasing decisions for other things (Kripalani, 2014). They should even be ready to trade their preferences and specific needs for healthcare with their specific preferences for all other things. When consumers adopt such an approach, healthcare professionals and providers will be forced to seriously compete for the consumer's money lowering their prices and also increasing the quality of their services (Kesselheim, 2016). Patients, on the other hand, will now have the ability to buy only the services which they want individually and can afford. The success of this approach is highly dependent on the ability to change patients to become "consumers." This means that patients should always be given the necessary information they need to make different consumption decisions. Consumers should know when to ask for professional assistance, which providers and professionals offer the best and quality healthcare, how to find the least expensive providers and professionals and which services and products recommended by healthcare professionals are the best and give the best value for their money (Kripalani, 2014).
Creating Guidelines That Address both the Benefits and Costs of Healthcare
The creation of practical guidelines can help to control volume without having to sacrifice quality if quality and price are both considered when establishing guidelines. Guidelines created to meet this criterion can be made to identify different kinds of treatment: ineffective treatment which can be stopped; the best and most cost-effective alternatives of treatment; and other more effective options which are also more costly. The most effective guidelines should address quality and cost without foreclosing other options of treatment (Alpern, 2014). This means that patients should not be induced to make decisions which focus on cost without considering the benefits of the most effective services. Hospitals should incorporate elements which enable guidelines to be used in different ways to deliver and promote appropriate and cost-effective care. Guidelines should be developed on topics which need various practice changes and reduce the number of resources used in providing unnecessary healthcare services. Practice guidelines should emphasize on elements which impact the desired outcomes for patients and should also target values which relate with the desired results (Hussey, 2013). The most effective guidelines give comprehensive approaches towards achieving both desired outcomes and targets.
In conclusion, people should have access to understandable and accurate healthcare information for them to make informed healthcare decisions. Healthcare systems and federal bodies should work to provide easy information access to the available options of treatment and the actual prices incurred in the healthcare processes. Patients should be educated about nutrition and diet, health, and preventive healthcare methods. People should also be informed about the different options of treatment and also be adequately informed about the various medical procedures and tests. Improved transparency and increased public access to data on the performances and qualifications of hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare providers can also vitally help patients to make the best decisions. The application of the patient decision in Medicare prior to expensive procedures can increase the use of more cost-effective interventions; decreasing the use of unneeded invasive procedures.
Alpern, J. D., Stauffer, W. M., & Kesselheim, A. S. (2014). High-cost generic drugs-implications for patients and policymakers. New England Journal of Medicine, 371(20), 1859-1862. Retrieved from https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMp1408376
Dafny, L. S., & Lee, T. H. (2016). Health care needs real competition.
Hussey, P. S., Wertheimer, S., & Mehrotra, A. (2013). The association between health care quality and cost a systematic review. Annals of internal medicine, 158(1), 27.Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23277898
Kesselheim, A. S., Avorn, J., & Sarpatwari, A. (2016). The high cost of prescription drugs in the United States: origins and prospects for reform. Jama, 316(8), 858-871.Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27552619
Kripalani, S., Theobald, C. N., Anctil, B., & Vasilevskis, E. E. (2014). Reducing hospital readmission rates: current strategies and future directions. Annual review of medicine, 65, 471-485. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4104507/
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