The US health care system has both public and private insurers and health care providers. Some are for-profit and others non-profit providers. The government covers those aged 65 years and above, people with disabilities, veterans, and low-income people by funding the national Medicare program (“United States”, 2021). Since the publication of the two reports on patient safety in 1991 and 2001, US health care has made considerable improvements. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act was passed into law to expand the government’s healthcare coverage. This act allowed young people to remain under their parent’s health care coverage plans for up to 26 years. This act also facilitated insurance subsidies to low- and middle-income people. This act led to about 20 million people gaining health care cover hence reducing the number of uninsured populations from 20 percent to 12 percent.
The US health care system has also increased the use of technology. Emerging technologies and digitization have helped the US health care system by improving the patient experience. By 2015, about 84 percent of hospitals had electronic medical records. The data from electronic medical records has continuously been used to improve patients’ health care and organizational performance (Bauchner & Fontanarosa, 2019). There have also been massive investments into telemedicine by both private and government research firms. These researches have led to the technological advancement of telemedicine, although its widespread use has been hindered by factors like interstate licensing and low reimbursement rates. Advancement in this field has brought telemedicine equipment that is smaller in size, like the fitness wrist bands and heart rate monitors. Virtual office visits have also been made possible, as well as the availability of health apps that allow communication between a doctor and a patient.
Another notable improvement is the lower mortality rate. The US has experienced a lower number of mortality rates than in the past decade. This reduction of mortality rate shows that the quality of the US health care system has been improving over the years. Another improvement is the growth of the number of nurse practitioners. The American Association of Nurse Practitioners reported that by 2019, the number of licensed nurses had grown up to more than 270,000 nurses. This growth of nurse practitioners has helped to fill the shortages of primary care providers in the US.
Even though there have been great healthcare improvements, there are still a few more things that can be done to improve the healthcare system even further. One improvement that can be done is to consolidate services to achieve better quality and low costs. The high number of patients visiting a health facility gives room for sub-specialization as well as lowering the cost of services and treatment (“US healthcare system one of least efficient”, 2016). Another way is by restructuring the service fee payment system. The service fee payment system should be based on the quality of services and outcomes achieved rather than the current system that concentrates on the volume of patients treated.
The other improvement that can be done is by embracing technology. There are still more technologies that are yet to be implemented in healthcare systems due to practicing issues and interstate laws. More research on medical technology advancement should continue to be done. Patient care technology has helped the healthcare system to meet the six aims necessary for quality care. These technologies have helped nurse practitioners to prevent medication errors, miscommunication, and delays that might lead to adverse effects.
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Bauchner, H., & Fontanarosa, P. (2019). Waste in the US Health Care System. JAMA, 322(15), 1463. Web.
United States. Commonwealthfund.org. (2021). Web.