Disparities in US Healthcare System

Disparities in US Healthcare System[EXTRACT]
Healthcare disparities pose a major challenge to the diverse 21st century America. Demographic trends indicate that the number of Americans who are vulnerable to suffering the effects of healthcare disparities will rise over the next half century. These trends pose a daunting challenge for policymakers and the healthcare system. Wide disparities exist among groups on the basis of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and geography. Healthcare disparities have occurred across different regional populations, economic cohorts, and racial/ethnic groups as well as between men and women. Education and income related disparities have also been seen. Social, cultural and economic factors are responsible for inequalities in the healthcare system.The issue of racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare have exploded onto the public stage. The causes of these disparities have been divided into health system factors and patient-provider factors. Health system factors include language and cultural barriers, the tendency for racial minorities to have lower-end health plans, and the lack of community resources, such as adequately stocked pharmacies in minority neighborhoods. Patient-provider factors include provider bias against minority patients, greater clinical uncertainty when treating minority patients, stereotypes about minority health behaviors and compliance, and mistrust and refusal of care by minority patients themselves who have had previous negative experiences with the healthcare system.The explanation for the racial and ethnic disparities is that minorities tend to be poor and less educated, with less access to care and they tend to live in places where doctors and hospitals provide lower quality care than elsewhere. Cultural or biological differences also play a role, and there is a long-running debate on how subtle racism infects the healthcare system. Inadequate transportation or the lack of knowledge among minorities about hospital quality could also be factors of inadequate care. Racial disparities are most likely a shared responsibility of plans, providers and patients. There’s probably not one factor that explains all of the disparity, but health plans do play an important role. Racial and ethnic disparities in healthcare do not occur in isolation. They are a part of the broader social and economic inequality experienced by minorities in many sectors. Many parts of the system including health plans, health care providers and patients may contribute to racial and ethnic disparities in health care.

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It is seen that there are significant disparities in the quality of care delivered to racial and ethnic minorities. There is a need to combat the root causes of discrimination within our healthcare system. Racial or ethnic differences in the quality of healthcare needs to be taken care of. This can be done by understanding multilevel determinants of healthcare disparities, including individual belief and preferences, effective patient-provider communication and the organizational culture of the health care system.To build a healthier America, a much-needed framework for a broad national effort is required to research the reasons behind healthcare disparities and to develop workable solutions. If these inequalities grow in access, they can contribute to and exacerbate existing disparities in health and quality of life, creating barriers to a strong and productive life.There is a need to form possible strategies and interventions that may be able to lessen and perhaps even eliminate these differences. It is largely determined by assumptions about the etiology of a given disparity. Some disparities may be driven, for example, by gaps in access and insurance coverage, and the appropriate strategy will directly address these shortcomings. The elimination of disparities will help to ensure that all patients receive evidence-based care for their condition. Such an approach will help establish quality improvement in the healthcare industry.Reducing disparities is increasingly seen as part of improving quality overall. The focus should be to understand their underlying causes and design interventions to reduce or eliminate them. The strategy of tackling disparities as part of quality improvement programs has gained significant attraction nationally. National leadership is needed to push for innovations in quality improvement, and to take actions that reduce disparities in clinical practice, health professional education, and research.The programs and polices to reduce and potentially eliminate disparities should be informed by research that identifies and targets the underlying causes of lower performance in hospitals. By eliminating disparities, the hospitals will become even more committed to the community. This will help to provide culturally competent care and also improve community connections. It will stimulate substantial progress in the quality of service that hospitals offer to its diverse patient community. Ongoing work to eliminate health disparities will help the healthcare departments to continually evaluate the patient satisfaction with services and achieve equality in healthcare services.

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It is important to use some interventions to reduce healthcare disparities. Successful features of interventions include the use of multifaceted, intense approaches, culturally and linguistically appropriate methods, improved access to care, tailoring, the establishment of partnerships with stakeholders, and community involvement. This will help in ensuring community commitment and serve the health needs of the community.There is the need to address these disparities on six fronts: increasing access to quality health care, patient care, provider issues, systems that deliver health care, societal concerns, and continued research. A well-functioning system would have minimal differences among groups in terms of access to and quality of healthcare services. This will help to bring single standard of care for people of all walks of life.Elimination of health care disparities will help to build a healthier America. Improving population health and reducing healthcare disparities would go hand in hand. In the health field, organizations exist to meet human needs. It is important to analyze rationally as to what actions would contribute to eliminate the disparities in the healthcare field, so that human needs are fulfilled in a conducive way.

Nutrition As a Core Service in the Healthcare System

Nutrition As a Core Service in the Healthcare System[EXTRACT]
In recent years, national health authorities have placed significant efforts on fighting Obesity, as it is the main cause of many dietary-related diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, Coronary Heart Disease, osteoarthritis and some forms of cancer, with significant costs to governments and national incomes. In spite of this, the concept of including a vital service such as Nutrition therapy in hospitals’ treatment plan still remains largely unattended.Further to this, despite the noticeable revival of related services, especially in the area of complementary therapy, little has changed with regards to nutritional offerings. It is true that we all need food to nourish our body, to survive, socialize, entertain, express our gratitude, sooth our senses etc., yet we tend to ignore its very contribution to health and wellness when it comes to hospital planning and design. Maybe we are all too familiar with food since we ingest it in almost every hour of the day in some shape or form and hence its impact on our health and wellness takes relatively back stage.Surprisingly, in spite of the huge growth of the private health industry in recent years, the role of Nutrition within such a prosperous environment has yet to be fully acknowledged. The majority of hospital, clinic and centre planners, developers, investors, owners and directors appear to be somewhat hesitant of encompassing such a ‘less-accentuated service’ into their menu planning. There is a general reluctance and apprehension with regard to the viability of Nutrition in an overwhelmingly treatment-based environment. Such reluctance may stem from the engraved lack of appreciation of the financial effectiveness of such a service and the role it can serve to patients/clients, owners and shareholders. Its perceived roles seem to be limited to the vaguely understood concept of dieting and/or diet sheets. And despite the general awareness of the role of diet in health and wellness, many hospital strategic planners hospital do not seem to put this into practice within the clinical environment (probably because hospitals are traditionally associated with the treatment of the communicable diseases, rather than addressing the inner health of the individual in the wider sense.

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However, in recent years Nutrition at large has gained enormous popularity, as today’s generation are indeed becoming more health conscientious and more and more studies have substantiated the link between today’s modern diseases which are largely non- communicable in nature and nutrition. Contrarily, the prevalence of overweight and obesity, particularly amongst adults, continues to grow to a record high, being described as the most common and fastest growing epidemics in the Western world. It is estimated that more than 35% of the US population are obese, and Europe is not far behind from following this trend. In fact it has recently been revealed that approximately one in four (25%) of the UK population is currently obese, and this is predicted to rise to 50% by the year 2030. Nevertheless, only one in four obese patients (25%) receives treatment and those who do seek assistance have a 90% chance of failure. We have known for years that overweight and obesity are most prevalent in the affluent nations, which are characterised by wealth and an abundance of convenient and ready-made foods. This is complicated further by a sense of lack of time for meal preparation and a high-tech environment leading to a passive environment and sedentary lifestyle.Amongst the public at large, there seems to be little progress as to how to tackle the worsening obesity epidemic. There is also confusion between healthy eating, which ought to be adopted by everyone and the ongoing taboo of dieting. Furthermore, little attention is given and inadequate effort is put into actively changing certain lifestyle factors, which are imperative to achieving optimum health and wellbeing. Indeed, the intensive commercialised advertising of health and diet-related products and services, combined with inaccurate advice given by seemingly unregulated industries coupled with the presence of unqualified or self taught practitioners and the so called dieting gurus, has certainly made it difficult for the layperson to differentiate between what is sound advice and what is merely a good marketing gimmick. As a result, much of the efforts made by national and international health organisations (often led by healthcare professionals) to counteract these odds fall short of reversing the obesity epidemic.Undoubtedly, the private health sector is well positioned to provide a wholesome approach to nutritional wellness. The majority of private hospitals, have the preliminary infrastructure to cope with such demands. For instance, nearly all hospitals are equipped with or have access to the most up to date diagnostic laboratories and treatment procedures, as well as the required medical and nursing staff and evidently a pharmacy. Indeed, these are the key prerequisites to any clinical establishment willing to embark on this fast growing market. What is subsequently required from such institutions is to enhance their existing services by adding a dedicated Nutrition and Dietetics centre led by properly trained staff, a well equipped fitness centre run by qualified instructors, a well resourced physiotherapy department, well-trained catering staff and possibly a swimming or thalassotherapy pool.

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It is true to say that different hospitals offer different services, and the level of focus on Nutrition may vary from one establishment to another. However, it is also true that improving overall health is gaining popularity, driven by genuine and measurable market demands and a widespread public awareness of the relationship between diet, nutrition and health. In order to achieve the desired results for both patients/clients and owners, Nutrition services have to be combined with other core services, such as Medical, Complementary, Fitness, Food and Beverage, together with strong PR and Marketing initiatives.Copyright © 2012: Therapia: All Rights Reserved: Therapia is a Registered Trademark

How Do Nurses Fit Into The Healthcare System

How Do Nurses Fit Into The Healthcare System[EXTRACT]
Do you think that 5 years or perhaps 20 years from now the demand for nurses in the country will be the same? Looking back in the year 2011 the demand of nurses in our country has been very high that our own country has to outsource foreign nurses. However, as technology and drugs evolved so does the need of nurses. Perhaps 20 years from now our health care system will never need too many nurses as we do today. There will come a time when the roles and the functions of a nurse will be done by robots, machines or health gadgets. These scientific breakthroughs will replace human work of a nurse. There is even a talk of having smartbeds that are able to monitor the blood pressure, heart beat and other important information of the patient, another in-the-making medical technology is a gadget that will automatically dispense appropriate medicine for the patient.

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The fact that our country is short of qualified nurses the government and the healthcare industry are doing its best to meet the country’s demands. They have come to think that outsourcing nurses from other countries would be the answer. But, with the population’s awareness of the perks and benefits of being a nurse, there is a growing number of citizens studying to be professional nurses. Being able to meet the country’s high demand of nurses will be beneficial for all. Firstly, we all know that the nurses are super stressed out considering that they have to work hard because of the fact that hospitals and other healthcare facilities lack RNs, however, if the numbers of nurses needed are met it would mean that RNs have more time to relax and to rest.Once these smartbeds and other medical healthcare gadgets are introduced into the market and are utilized in the healthcare facilities, more people will definitely be attracted to work in this kind of profession knowing that the RNs are not overworked. If the time will come when no more RNs are needed in the healthcare facilities, the job opportunity of teaching in colleges and universities both online and in local communities will be given importance which simply means that RNs will never have a hard time finding a job.

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If you are hard working, caring and understanding you can definitely be an RN in less than 2 years. It may sound impossible to obtain a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in less than 2 years but with the advent of technology it is now possible to finish a degree in nursing in 2 years or less. How? You can enroll in online nursing degree, there are countless well known universities and colleges that offer online nursing degrees and these degrees can be finished in less than 2-3 years depending on several factors.Before you enroll to a nursing online degree program you have t o be evaluate yourself if this is really the kind of job that you want to take up. Once enrolled, there is no turning back.

Benefits of a UK Healthcare System

Benefits of a UK Healthcare System[EXTRACT]
If you live in the UK, you probably know that the healthcare here is a great option compared to what other countries have. Even the United States cannot compete with the services that the UK offers and the price at which those services are provided. Much of that comes from the idea that the UK has the National Health Service. This national insurance program is designed to ensure that everyone in the country has access to the healthcare that they need and that they don’t go bankrupt because they can’t pay for it, or struggle because they can’t pay insurance premiums. That’s very important. Areas like the US have good insurance programs, but only for those people who have a lot of money.

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When people don’t have much money and they can’t afford health insurance, it becomes easier for them to simply ignore their health. They don’t go to doctors as much, they don’t go and get screened for diseases, and they generally don’t spend much time taking care of themselves. They might be given a prescription for something but they don’t take it because they can’t afford it, or they might think that they have something wrong with them but they don’t go and get it checked out because they can’t afford the doctor visit. With that in mind they often end up in the emergency room with a problem that could have been treated much more easily (and cheaply) if they would have gone to the doctor in time.
With the UK healthcare system, those kinds of things that are so wide-spread in other countries aren’t really seen in Britain and surrounding areas. There are still some people who won’t go to the doctor for other reasons that have nothing to do with insurance – anxiety, distrust, etc – but there are not that many of these people. It’s much better to have the option to go to the doctor and get medical treatment when needed and not to have to worry about things like not having enough money. This is especially true for families with children, because when children are sick people work very hard to get them the medical care that they need. It’s difficult for parents who find that they are not able to do this, but parents in the UK need not fear their children having no medical care if they need to be treated for something.

A Systemic Problem in Our Healthcare System

A Systemic Problem in Our Healthcare System[EXTRACT]
Those of you who are old enough to remember the Australian bush nurse Sister Kenny (1880-1952), will no doubt recall the brouhaha she caused within the medical establishment of her time. Elizabeth Kenny had devised a treatment for polio that was universally castigated by doctors of the day. In fact her methods proved time and again to be efficacious and became the forerunner for the practice of physical therapy as we know it today.The reason Sister Kenny, and her struggles with the established order of medicine, is brought to mind is that licensed medical doctors all too often behave like members of a closed-shop union. In such an environment, no one is allowed to do work that is perceived as encroaching on their specialty, without consequent castigation and sanction. And, they vigorously lobby for laws to protect them from perceived interlopers.In Sister Kenny’s case, she struggled for years to get her therapeutic methods accepted, even in the face of observable success, and admiring testimonials from patients. The medical profession cast aspersions on her methods and her person, largely because she wasn’t an accredited practitioner (only a nurse), and her methods contradicted generally accepted treatment standards.

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In today’s contentious health care environment, alternative treatments are greatly frowned upon, and their practitioners ridiculed. Ask licensed doctors what they think of acupuncture, chiropractic, aroma or muscle activation therapy, and they will almost always turn up their noses. In fact, they have convinced the insurance industry that these methods are nothing more than palliatives bordering on quackery. Thus, patients are channeled into much more expensive surgical and drug treatments that often times provide no relief.This is not to say that there aren’t quacks hovering around the practice of alternative medicine, just as there are quacks who are licensed to practice the approved variety. It is also not claimed that there alternative methods for all sicknesses or diseases. But it is also true that in most professions, wherever there is a buck to be made, a surfeit of willing hands will extend to accommodate. We see desperately sick people try all sorts of last gasp treatments, especially after traditional medicine has given up on them. And these alternative methods seldom work.However, in the less well defined areas of pain management, due to a variety of causes, modern medicine has proven to be quite fallible. Countless thousands of people suffer through painful days of agony with only the promise of relief provided by dangerous drugs. Doctors prescribe many unproven medications because their pharmaceutical rep told them this was the cutting edge drug du jour for pain management. Big Pharma and the medical profession work hand and glove to push their latest (and expensive) drug on suffering patients. And since only licensed doctors can dispense them, this conduit is exploited by both parties. Why there might even be a financial incentive for the prescribing doctor. Heavens!Because of the built-in aversion to examining or even testing alternative therapies, the healthcare system is saddled with more expensive, “accredited” treatments that push the insured patients in that direction.Even though back surgery has been shown to be less than 50% effective, and much less costly alternative therapies have proven efficacious, they are ignored. Worse, just as in Sister Kenny’s case, they are scoffed at by the establishment. Such are the ironic side-effects of our costly for-profit health care system.

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As another example of padding the bottom line is a practice that is becoming more common. Doctors are increasingly insisting on patients coming in for an office visit just to renew a prescription. Admittedly for some drugs it is necessary to monitor side effects (another indication of how dangerous some of them are), but in many cases it is totally unnecessary. As cuts in Medicare go into effect (which will increase, rather than cut costs), doctors will seek more ways to supplement their income. Once a professional is used to a certain level of earnings (no matter the discipline), it’s hard to accept less. Doctors are no exception.So, the bottom line is that there just might be ways to improve both the costs of health care and the patients’ welfare by researching and approving alternative therapies. Sadly, that’s not even on the table for discussion.