Healthcare services are the most beneficial part of any medical facility not only to the clients, but also to the practitioners as well. All the healthcare services including promotion, treatment, disease prevention, diagnosis and rehabilitation can also be done from home, at the workplace, and at healthcare facilities. Effective service delivery involves access to key resources for an effective operation. These resources include a motivated staff, information, financial resources, functional and efficient facilities, medical insurance coverage, adequate medication and excellent quality of service. So far, the healthcare system has improved tremendously and the service delivery is better. As a result, mortality rates have reduced considerably and cases of disability are very low. Moreover, the management of chorine diseases has improved and diseases as polio have been eradicated. Exchange of information across the world is faster than before because information has reduced time span and distance around the world (instant communication). However, despite these milestones in health care service delivery, a lot more needs to be done to ensure that all humankind gets access to effective, efficient and affordable health care.
There are great advancements in healthcare delivery today. Nonetheless, many problems have developed due to the changes being introduced. These problems range from the cost of medication, quality of services, access to information, patient autonomy, nurse malpractice, distance and time of service delivery (Haux 282).
The cost of medication has increased tremendously due to new inventions and development s in the medical field. The more service becomes efficient, the more the cost. This has had a bad impact on the health of poor people because although they have a right to medication; they cannot afford the best services the system has to offer. Some procedures are therefore beyond their reach. The United Kingdom for instance has an 8.4% rate of expenditure on healthcare as a percentage of the country’s GDP. This represents a 7.5% increase in comparison with the rates recorded in 2006.
The introduction of computerization has had a very positive impact on healthcare leading to reduced cost of medication and service delivery. However, this has had other ethical issues in spite of its cost-effectiveness (Haux 282). The main ethical issue is upholding the autonomy and privacy principle, now that accessing information would be faster and managing it would be easy. Passing of sensitive medical information across electronic transmitters can compromise autonomy and there is possibility of unintentionally infringing this. Patient privacy is also an issue considering that accessibility is much easier in current application of IT in medicine (Jadad and Gagliardi 612).
Current developments have largely reduced distance. However, the use of online consultation, long distance services delivery and telemedicine are problems that has sparked concerns about the ambiguous types of relationships that will grow between physicians and patients (Haux 282). Service delivery is more efficient when the patient and doctor can create some kind of a bond that allows free communication. From this communication, the doctor is likely to gain information from the patient in a way they would otherwise not have been possible. However, such innovations as cyber medicine take away this benefit (Health & Health Care 7) and service delivery is too physical. Artificial intelligence is increasingly finding application in diagnosis and intervention has contributed to increased ethical questions concerning the extent to which a medical practitioner like a doctor or a physician can rely on a machine’s intelligence.
Solutions to Current Burdens
Working under the medical profession is a very daunting task and requires a very dedicated team. To offer professionalism, nurses work under a plethora of ethical and professional responsibilities (Haux 283). Legally, professionally and ethically, it is important to take into account three basic responsibilities; they are patients’ confidentiality, respect for their autonomy and realization of the responsibility owed to the care of the patients. If these responsibilities are breached there is need call for legal reinforcement.
The cost- Due to cost problems, managed care plans have been developed to help clients in meeting their bills whenever they are attended to by medical practitioners. This system offers care at a subsidized cost to members (Health & Health Care 47). This system has managed to meet its duty of cutting down the cost of medication. However, there is a concern that due to this, the quality of service provided could have been compromised because of it being cheaper (Haux 284).
Every individual has a right to decide on what happens to his/her body; everybody has a right to autonomy including protecting personal information. The practitioners cannot share this information without consent of the patient. Furthermore, the clients have to be reassured that their information is safe (Haux 285). Affirmation to the autonomous right is supreme in the medical field and imposing a certain medication or medical process can only find justification against the will of the patient when it is intended to protect the public from harm.
Patients are the most important people in the hospital setting and need professional care. Attaining patient satisfaction will go along with building the reputation of the facility and inspiring morale to workers. Improved clinical process making them faster and safer is the first step to attain patient satisfaction. Efficiency of other applications like diagnosis, prescriptions and so on is very critical (Health & Health Care 137). Quality service will start at the reception when patient information can be accessed very fast just at the touch of a button and other processes taken very safely and faster as well for example automated lab tests and e- prescribing (Jadad & Gagliardi 612).
Medical practitioners (doctors and nurse) are obliged to attend to their patients who are in this case the patients than to the public in general. By virtue of patient-nurse relationship, the practitioners owe their clients duty of care that include keeping their information private, attending them and offering the necessary and relevant type of service the patients wants. Breach of these could result in the crime of negligence which is law enforceable (Haux 287). The use of professional knowledge and skills in the medical profession is a test of whether there has been incidence of negligence or not. This is because the ordinary people cannot perform such responsibilities. If a nurse fails to prescribe properly or a doctor does not measure up to the required standards, this calls for adjudge for negligence. The hospitals have well documented proper guidelines of practice that are usually used as evidence against cases of negligence.
The Future of Healthcare
One Record: Accessing information and sharing it at an appropriate time in the medical care is very important. Having one record to every one mean that there would be a lot of delays, confusion, and disorganization and overcrowding. For these reasons, the healthcare would turn chaotic. Several issues will be very difficult to solve especially the autonomy and privacy issue (Health & Health Care 137). Accessing patient information like tracking patient populations, types of their illnesses, their side effects and lab results will be easier and faster when needed at once in different departments. All workers will compromise patient safety because several health conditions have different degrees of precedence and access in by almost possible in that facility (Health & Health Care 139).
Patient’s Satisfaction: Patients are the most important people in the hospital setting and needs access to professional care. Attaining patient satisfaction will go along with building the reputation of the facility and inspiring morale to workers. Improved clinical processes will make them faster and safer. This is the first step towards gaining patient satisfaction (Haux 289). Efficiency of other applications like, diagnosis, prescriptions and so on which are very critical will be very accurate considering computerization of most of these processes. Quality service will start at the reception when patient information can be accessed very fast just at the touch of a button and other processes taken very safely and faster as well for example automated lab tests and e- prescribing.
Safety: safety, cost-effectiveness and convenience that it will bring about. EMR will ensure that there is guarantee of patient’s safety while at the same time eliminating the bulk of paper documentation, refilling, storage and waster of time as one move from place to place-shifting fields. EMR will allow remote access of data but the cost is the major issue of concern (Jadad & Gagliardi 612). The expenses involved in acquiring, implementing and maintaining system can be very high. Furthermore, there are annual maintenance costs for the hardware and software system.
There will be improvement of distance medication if internet is well integrated into the healthcare system and particularly since the communication sector is increasingly very popular. Medication at a distance is telemedicine. Medication service is delivered over a very long distance via the electronic media and using the medical knowledge and other computer techniques (Jadad & Gagliardi 614). Important aspect of this sector will be improved for instance medical/clinical diagnosis, medical therapy and documentation. Medical research will also grow a great deal as training will be made cheaper and readily available and many education systems will be integrated to offer the training. Telephone and other electronic media used for communication can ensure that information reaches even the remotest parts of the world (Health & Health Care 139). The potential of distance medication has been in anticipation for quite sometime now, it is likely to improve since governments, those organizations interested in the industry, and the improved telecommunication will make a considerable contribution in terms of money and skills (Jadad & Gagliardi 614). This is essentially so because it is a proven fact that the initial cost of implementation may be high but the final benefits are very many including reduced costs, safer health care.
There is possibility of getting solutions to the current health problems as research in health increases that gives special attention to adoption of information system and integrating it into the systems. This means that accessing medical knowledge will be much easier and expertise service would be accessible at an instance. The new advancement will greatly lead to decreased cost of medication and efficiency of service delivery will increase. Nonetheless, more dilemmas that are ethical are likely to arise pertaining the efficiency of the system considering the lack of protection of the patient in terms of welfare and privacy. These problems will only be resolved after creation of a very comprehensive legal and ethical structure to govern medical society.
Haux, Reinhold. Hospital Information Systems-Past, Present, Future, Peter L. Reichertz International Journal of Medical Informatics, 75.3(2006): 282-299
Health & Health Care 2010, The Forecast, The Challenge Second Edition Institute For The Future. 2003 Princeton NJ, Jossey-Bass A Wiley, Print.
Jadad, Alejandro and Gagliardi, Anna. Rating Health Information on the Internet Navigating to Knowledge or to Babel? JAMA. 279(1998): 611-614.