Healthcare Systems – Are They Comprehensive and Effective?

Healthcare Systems – Are They Comprehensive and Effective?[EXTRACT]
Providing quality and effective health care is everyone’s concern. This is true anywhere in the world, even in the United States. The government is constantly trying to initiate changes in the system that will ensure that health care is still provided comprehensively even with the onset of recession. The general public, on the other hand, is faced with worries about getting decent health care for themselves and their families. Employers are concerned with providing proper health care benefits to the employees and their dependents, while the medical practitioners are constantly looking for ways on how to be able to provide the best health care possible for their patients.When someone is admitted to a hospital or a medical institution, this can cause worry for his family. They will definitely worry about his medical condition. The financial situation also comes into play. The little but important details about settling the bills, especially if you are using insurance can also cause stress and confusion. Although the coverage of the insurance is usually explained when it is availed, there is a lot more to learn and understand when it comes down to choosing the correct hospital or doctor and to ensure that hospital expenses are kept to a minimum.

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The United States boasts of having one of the most advanced and comprehensive healthcare systems in the world. American citizens, in general, should be thankful for having sufficient healthcare plans, either through their personal funds or through their employers. This is applicable especially for those who are able to avail of private healthcare plans. However, we cannot say that this is true for everyone, especially those who are not eligible for government insurance. This may be due to one of the following reasons: the disease is not covered by the plan, or the family earns more than enough to qualify for government insurance, but earns less than how much is required for them to afford private insurance.There are also those who are not eligible for government insurance, but do not have health benefits from their employers. So, it is up to them to decide whether they can afford to set aside some money to pay for personal insurance or not. Since the government cannot afford to subsidize healthcare for everyone, or for every disease, the responsibility of providing comprehensive health care is left to the hands of big businesses, or in worst cases, on the hands of an individual who has to decide whether it is practical to get a medical insurance or not.

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With government provided healthcare being limited, and with medical insurance companies constantly increasing health insurance prices, the burden of providing quality and comprehensive health care for him and his family is left to the ordinary man. To date, there are still no concrete rules and regulations that can help ensure that every man in the country can have quality and comprehensive health care. Until this is addressed, there will still be people that will not be able to afford bringing in their loved ones for treatment and the issue of health care will continue to be a debatable topic.

Increasing Incidence of Joint Replacements Burdens Healthcare System

Increasing Incidence of Joint Replacements Burdens Healthcare System[EXTRACT]
With the number of joint replacement procedures growing at extraordinary rates, putting extreme pressure on already rising healthcare costs, the healthcare community must ensure that it is adequately equipped to meet the demand by preparing for the rising costs and making sure that there are enough orthopedic surgeons to handle new cases. For their part, medical device companies need to design and manufacture implants with longer life spans to avoid revision surgeries that add to healthcare costs, while exploring alternatives to traditional joint replacement procedures.Record growth in joint replacement surgeries represents a lucrative opportunity for implant makers, but with opportunity comes the responsibility to help hold down increases in healthcare costs before they overwhelm our collective ability to pay. Medical device companies are developing new materials and procedures and working with healthcare providers on preventive measures. Even so, more needs to happen to prevent joint replacement surgeries from overburdening the healthcare system.Joint replacements, which have been performed since the late 1960s, can be highly successful at relieving pain, repairing damage caused by arthritis, and helping people to function normally and remain active. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 43 million Americans, or nearly one in five adults, have some sort of arthritis pain. Knees, the largest joints in the body, are usually the most painful. Since obesity is also highly prevalent, cases of arthritis are beginning to onset at a much earlier age in overweight people.Number of Replacements SkyrocketingWith an aging baby-boomer generation, it should come as no surprise that the number of hip and knee replacement procedures have skyrocketed. The Nationwide Inpatient Sample (NIS) shows that primary hip replacements increased by 48%, from 153,080 procedures in 1997 to 225,900 in 2004. First-time knee replacements grew by 63% from 264,331 in 1997 to 431,485 in 2004. According to HCUPNet, 228,332 patients received total hip replacements in 2006, and 496,077 patients received total knee replacements.If these trends continue, an estimated 600,000 hip replacements and 1.4 million knee replacements will be carried out in 2015. It is estimated that by 2030, the number of knee replacements will rise to more than 3.4 million. First-time replacement procedures have been increasing equally for males and females; however, the number of procedures has increased at particularly high rates among people age 45-64 years.

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According to Datamonitor’s 2006 report, the US accounts for 50% and Europe 30% of the total procedures worldwide. The 2005 revenues for hip implants in the US were $2 billion and $1.4 billion in Europe, while knee implant revenues comprised $2.4 billion in the US and $774 million in Europe.Demand & Technology Drive Cost Increases With the increase in demand and improved implant materials and surgical techniques, the cost of these procedures is also increasing. According to NIS, Medicare was the major source of payment in 2004 (55.4% for primary hip replacements, 59.3% for primary knee replacements). Private insurance payments experienced a steeper increase. In 2004, the national bill for hip and knee replacements was $26 billion. Hospital cost accounted for $9.1 billion, and the amount of reimbursement was $7.2 billion (28% of hospital charges or 79% of hospital cost).Another study from Exponent, Inc. analyzed Medicare data for hip and knee replacements from 1997-2003. It was found that while procedural charges increased, reimbursements actually decreased over the study period, with higher charges observed for revisions than primary replacements. Reimbursements per procedure were 62-68% less than associated charges from primary and revision procedures. It is evident that joint replacements have the potential to be highly lucrative, but the burden on patients and our healthcare system must also be considered.Behind the Growth TrendAn aging population and increased incidence of obesity are primary causes for the increase in joint replacements. Nearly 65% of the US population is overweight, and arthritis is highly prevalent among this group. With more patients receiving joint replacements at an earlier age, there is much higher probability they will outlive their artificial joint.A recent study in Wales tracked joint replacement procedures since 2003 and found a revision rate of 1-in-75, which was considered to be a fairly good score. In the US, 40,000 knee revisions and 46,000 hip revisions were performed in 2004. However, knee revisions are expected to increase sevenfold, and hip revisions to more than double by 2030.Revision surgeries are problematic for several reasons. In addition to the extra recovery time for patients, revisions are tougher operations that take longer and cost more. There is often a reduced amount of bone to place the new implant and there is a much higher complication rate.Why Implants FailWith hip replacements, the most common problems are postoperative instability and repeated dislocations. Surgeons must consider many risk factors before the initial surgery, including age, gender, motor function disorders, dementia and prior hip surgery. The surgical approach can also affect the risk for dislocation and leg-length discrepancy, so proper pre-operative planning is a must.Components design and positioning may also contribute to instability. Dislocations are often caused by movement outside the normal range of motion, so it is important for patients to take the proper precautions following surgery. A study by the Mayo Clinic showed that in the case of repeated dislocations, the hospital fees for treatment and revision surgery end up costing, on average, 148% of the cost of the initial replacement. The decision to undergo a revision surgery is typically made based on repeated dislocations and the patient’s health. Patients that have undergone previous hip surgeries or have poor abductor muscles are at greater risk for failed revisions.Revisions of knee replacements may be required when patients experience infection, osteolysis, implant loosening or misalignment, knee injury or chronic progressive joint disease. Decisions to undergo revisions are made based on previous knee surgeries, current health and radiographic examinations. Patients with poor bone quality, unresolved infection, peripheral vascular disease or poor quadriceps muscles or extensor tendons are at greater risk for a failed revision.Preventive MeasuresWith the unprecedented growth in replacement procedures, measures must be taken to prevent this phenomenon from overwhelming our healthcare system. This can be accomplished through better preventive care, alternatives to total replacements, and by ensuring that primary replacements are successful. Reducing obesity and treating arthritis at earlier stages will help reduce the numbers of procedures. In addition, many have called for a national joint replacement registry such as those in Australia, Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, and Sweden, which track high failure rates associated with some joint replacement procedures.

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Alternative procedures are available that have improved dramatically over the past 10 years. For example, partial replacements are less-invasive, with smaller scars and shorter healing times because only the diseased compartments are replaced. Minimally invasive procedures are available for total replacements in some patients. There are also new options available for women needing total knee replacement, known as “gender-specific” knees that are slimmer and contoured to more closely imitate the female anatomy. Hip resurfacing is another procedure gaining in popularity because it conserves more bone than a traditional total hip replacement. This type of implant will last longer than a traditional hip replacement.New biomaterials and component designs also increase the lifespan of implants, and computer-assisted surgery can improve the success of joint replacement by allowing more accurate and precise implant alignment. Several studies have shown this type of procedure to be more cost-effective by preventing the need for revision.Looking AheadFor medical device companies, the record growth in joint replacement procedures presents a lucrative opportunity. However, manufacturers need to work with the medical community to help ease the burden of this epidemic by increasing the success and longevity of their implants and exploring alternatives to the traditional joint replacement procedures.Undoubtedly, national joint replacement registries have proven useful in other countries. The medical community needs to demand that a registry be put in place in the United States, and it needs to do a better job of educating society on prevention. It is important that the medical community, including device companies, come together with a plan for preventing the potential burden this overwhelming surgical load could have before it takes a toll on our healthcare system.

Healthcare Systems and You

Healthcare Systems and You[EXTRACT]
Here it is the first week of 2011 and some of us are already struggling to keep on track with our resolutions. When people are asked about what they would like to change about their lives, most of them say health and wealth. Those are the two biggest issues in our lives today. One of the biggest health problems in America today is the state of being overweight. Some of us have a small problem, maybe 10-15 pounds that need to be shed. Some of us have bigger weight problems but we all need to be aware of this if we want to live long, healthy lives.

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So one of the first steps is to determine your goals. What is it that you really want to accomplish. If it is simply losing weight, that is a fairly simplistic endeavor. If one thinks about this a bit, one realizes that a lot of benefits could be achieved if one carried this a bit further. Yes, it is good to lose weight but first of all, that will be a struggle if one does not combine this with exercise. The exercise will promote better health in addition to assisting you with weight loss. We want to be healthier, to feel better and to have more energy.We are going to take this step by step so we don’t get so overwhelmed by this resolution. Make a plan. Write down how much weight you want to lose and expand this to some other goals. What we are looking for is a life change program. If you didn’t want change, you wouldn’t be reading this. So…every day, keep this resolution in mind. Stop before you begin to eat; think about what is good for you. Then start with some exercise. Simply walking at first will make you feel better.

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We can get into more later. We are here to help each other and we can if we do it in manageable steps.

The Norwegian Versus the American Healthcare System

The Norwegian Versus the American Healthcare System[EXTRACT]
America’s history is rooted so deeply in freedom of choice to either win or lose in one’s economic decisions. This can be epitomized by so many early Europeans coming to the New World in search of a new life, many of which had very little wealth in terms of personal property or education, but eventually pioneered much of the American wilderness creating farms, small communities, and big cities. From the earliest Americans that came to Jamestown Virginia to the more recent immigrants coming through Ellis Island, many of these Americans have argued for less government intervention in their lives and created a culture that keeps the government from controlling everyday choices like gun control to even universal healthcare. Even today, America does not even have a universal healthcare system, even though many other industrial nations do.Many Americans argue that a universal healthcare system will not work in America because a large portion of Americans will simply take advantage of the system, in terms of not altering their unhealthy behavior, thus, running up the costs for everyone. Moreover, many feel that healthcare is simply not a privilege to be handed to everyone, and should be employer based to ensure everyone pays for their own healthcare, as much as possible. This seems to be a cultural issue rooted deeply in the American value of individuals being independent as much as possible from government influences. On the other hand, a country like Norway has some pure socialist practices, especially in the area of healthcare. In fact, everyone in Norway has healthcare. It is the law of the land.

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Norwegians are more practical than Americans in how they spend their money, they enjoy saving money for quality health care. According to Bruce Bartlett, a Forbes Magazine columnist, on a per capita basis, Norwegians spend $4,763 per year, and covers everyone, while Americans spend $7,290. By various standards of health quality, like life expectancy or rate of preventable deaths, Norway does better than the U.S. One key measure is physicians per capita: America has 2.43 physicians compared with Norway’s 4 doctors per every 1,000 people, even though Norway spends a third less of its Gross Domestic Product on health care than the U.S. does.Why is the cost of healthcare in Norway less than that in America? The eye catching statistic that reveals Norwegian superiority in providing lower cost healthcare is that the number of doctors in America, per capita, is actually less than in Norway. Perhaps increasing the supply of healthcare providers in America could lower overall healthcare expenditures for healthcare. Perhaps there is a deep rooted cultural reason in Norway that is helping to keep healthcare costs down. Maybe their society has a healthier population than countries like America.

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Finally, it appears capitalistic and socialistic policies both can benefit a nation like America. America has the greatest GDP of any nation, but yet, does not provide a universal healthcare system for its citizens. One would think that through sheer size and because of its economic output, America could keep its healthcare costs lower for its citizens than a country like Norway. Perhaps the free market system in America will one day solve all of the demands that its citizens want, like universal healthcare. If not, perhaps a more controlled socialistic policy will be created providing universal healthcare that is similar to the one implemented in Norway. There is a school of thought for each economic approach, but the bottom line is, there is a cost to be paid, and ultimately the consumer/taxpayer will bear that cost.

Dental Hygienist Schools – New Profession Possibilities in Healthcare System

Dental Hygienist Schools – New Profession Possibilities in Healthcare System[EXTRACT]
Pupils interested to begin their career as certified dental hygienists are able to apply now to accredited dental hygienist schools preparation programs. Today the dental care system has an ongoing need for authorized dental hygienists, who in general, fill a dentist’s office team (technicians, assistants). By attending this type of school you can achieve specific levels of experience. Associate degree, bachelor’s degree and master’s degree are the most significant certification you can earn in these courses. As soon as you own a official recognition, you are required to pass an examination in order to achieve the authorized level. This is the standard path to becoming a professional. Most of the programs request explicit principles that people have to go through and these principles vary for each state.If you are thinking about a dental career and the proposal of these programs sounds appealing, you may learn the general dental hygienist profession description below: examination, documentation and diagnosis.

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This profession possess a sequence of obligations that dentists have transferred to hygienists. The main responsibilities they have have are to conduct initial examination of patients, fill their medical records and perhaps the most essential offer the mandatory information for a healthy oral hygiene. Their purpose is to teach patients techniques to be one step ahead of any possible dental disease.- medical proceduresIt goes without saying that the procedures dental hygienists can complete are apparently easier than dentists difficult procedures that require superior studies. They can take care of simple cavities, dental impressions, x-ray procedures. Administering the local anesthesia is considered to be part of their duty too. To perform these duties, you definitely require a lot of practice. All certified dental hygienist schools provide the needed medical training for future hygienists.- front-office and administrative dutiesAdministrative duties are secondary tasks you might be required to accomplish. Biology and chemistry credits are crucial so that you can get qualified for these kinds of programs. The didactic values increase consecutively to the preferred level to achieve. For instance, if your goal is to begin a profession in dental hygiene research or academic duration you need to obtain bachelor’ s or master’ s degree.In order to complete the intensive clinical practice, these dental hygienist schools contribute with a full range of theoretical options to the issue. A few of the classes you have to attend are chemistry, anatomy, microbiology, pharmacy and nutrition. Due to the fact that your job is to deal with patients you need to display a high sense of affinity. You’ ll have to explain patients they should not be afraid of dental office and for that you may need to study particular methods.

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It is not sufficient to gain a degree the schools offer to have the right for legal practice. There are either regional or state clinical examinations you have to pass, in order to become authorized. Additionally, various states require you to pass, following graduation, the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination. If your aspiration is to become a certified dental hygienist you have to be sure this career it fits you and to check all the existing possibilities.