The US Healthcare Delivery System
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The increasing complexity of health care delivery, a great variety of chronic and incurable diseases, high rates of mortality and morbidity, absence of appropriate health insurance, and shortage of all ranks of medical professionals are crucial issues of health care delivery systems in the USA and worldwide. These facts and statistical data provided by the World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention directly testify too weak efficiency of the existing healthcare delivery system.
The delivery of health care should correspond to a changing paradigm of medicine, be socially available, cost-effective and guarantee high-quality medical aid for all population. However, health care organizations and the U.S. health care delivery system are affected by the officially registered shortage of physicians, as well as other medical professionals, growing rates of “Americans without health insurance” (Access to health care, 2010), complicated clinical practice in the underserved communities, “the imbalance between the supply of and demand for health services”, problems in “coordination and communication across providers and settings” and inappropriate payments for health care providers’ services (Health care delivery, 2010). The above-mentioned problems aggravate practices of medical organizations in general and health care administrators in particular. Therefore, in order to improve the current and future medical aid provision, the US health care delivery system should be redesigned and legally standardized by empowered officials and governmental bodies.
Such changes in the US health care delivery system as an increase in funding of health care, deliberate and comprehensive utilization of telenursing methods and services, expanded powers of midlevel medical professionals, nurses’ obligatory participation in educational programs, cooperation between clinical settings, and more advantageous environment for medical personnel can significantly improve the quality of healthcare services.
Telecommunicate technologies should be utilized to deliver medical services to patients, who are immobilized, live in remote places, and have chronic diseases. Telenursing methods and services provide medical professionals with opportunities to lead consultations, educate relatives of the sick, assist in examinations, assess, diagnose, and monitor patients online. Utilizing such technological tools as telephones, computers, video equipment, and the Internet, nurses, as well as other health care providers, obtain opportunities to evaluate health conditions of patients, exchange information, request treatment guidance from physicians, perform case management, and, thus, improve outcomes. To correspond to the population requirements in medical aid delivery, a clinical setting should be computerized and supplied with state-of-the-art equipment; therefore, an increase in funding of health care is an obligatory change to be enacted. Furthermore, health education, training of medical professionals, provision of health care, performance of procedures, access to the medical treatment and its costs, diagnostics, and consultations can be significantly improved by advances in nursing informatics and computer technologies (Peters, 2010).
Providing basic medical aid for a wide range of patients in various health care settings, Nurse Practitioners (NPs) and Physician Assistants (PAs) have become a vital part of the team, which promotes the delivery of efficient high-quality patient care. They perform a great number of therapeutic procedures in varied health care organizations “using guidelines, pathways, protocols, checklists, and related tools” (Tollen & Crosson, 2010, p. 47). However, their medical interventions should be supervised by physicians. Demand for officially expanded powers of midlevel providers are the result of the change in complexity of care required by patients, clientele suffering from numerous diseases, and the dramatic physicians’ shortage.
Comparing and evaluating approaches to health care in other countries, empowered officials and health care administrators obtain information concerning the most effective strategies and their practical application. Taking into account the indisputable importance of human life and health, all professionals involved in health care are obliged to ensure quality patient care. In order to meet growing public expectations they should constantly increase their professional competencies, be aware of innovative methods of treatment and results of recent studies worldwide. Advanced knowledge empowers medical professionals and provides them with opportunities to make a positive impact on the health care delivery system.
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