An integrated health care system may be defined as an organization, which has aligned its health care facilities to enable the delivery of integrated health care services, thus improving quality and reducing costs incurred relative to a specific region (Li-Ping & Timmer, 2008). This leads to better health care and services, improved accessibility, cost reduction, improved customer relations and efficient and effective operations.
Medical errors are of major concern to the health care industry. They lead to injuries and thedeath of patients being attended to.
Medical errors have to be eliminated to ensure the patients safety. They lead to increased medical expenditures whereby the health care facilities have to compensate for injuries and death (Kitchheimer, 2001). Readmissions and outpatient care may also be necessary to mitigate the impacts of medical errors. There are increased insurance claims, which arise as a result of these errors leading to major losses being incurred by the health care institution.
The provision of quality health care to the community is of utmost concern to any government. This is because it directly affects the production capability of an individual and the economic status of the country at large (Kitchheimer, 2001). There are various factors which affect provision of quality health care. These include personal factors, which are related to a person’s social and ethnic belief and others factors related to what one perceives of medical care and medical care practitioners. Factors affecting medical health care delivery include mergers and acquisitions, population changes, integration, leadership, medical errors and alternative therapies (Li-Ping & Timmer, 2008).
Mergers and acquisitions of health care facilities are on the increase. Health care is currently viewed as an industry in itself due to the increase in demand of health care required by an ever increasing population. Emerging new diseases also need attention in terms of research, time and money, so as find appropriate treatments (Firth-Cozens, 2001). Small local health care facilities thus merge with others to form large conglomerate facilities. This increases the quality of health care available to the community but it may also lead to reduced access to the facility if its location is far away from the community. If the staff is downsized, less care and attention will be available to the patients leading to poor service delivery (Corporate Board (Eds), 1997). Strategic planning is thus required to deal with the effects of a merger so to ensure the availability of quality health care services.
Demographic changes such as an increase in age and population have a major impact on health care delivery. An increase in health care costs has been linked to an increase in age and population (Corporate Board (Eds), 1997). This can be explained by the increase in required health care and related health care services by the aging population. Changes in population affect the demand and provision of quality health services. Where the population size is high, there is a greater demand for health care leading to better quality of health services provided (Firth-Cozens, 2001). Proper planning and delivery of essential health care services can be achieved if the demographic variables are well understood.
Leadership is an important factor in health care delivery (Burns & Grove, 2007). Good leadership ensures that every one is involved in the process of providing and attaining required health care. It creates an opportunity for educating the community on relevant health issues and ultimately enables for provision of better health care. It plays a key role in successfully providing necessary health care to communities and facilitates an institutions ability to improve on its services and tackle consistent and daily challenges which they may face (Firth-Cozens, 2001).
The use of alternative health therapies has increased with increases in costs of conventional methods. Alternative health therapies are not recognized as part of conventional medicine. More and more people are combining alternative health therapies and conventional methods to increase healing capabilities. The art and science of using alternative therapies may be enhanced to improve public health. Alternative health therapies are readily available and can be used for treatment of minor ailments (Burns & Grove, 2007).
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