"The Future Challenges Facing Health Care in the US" is an incredible example of a paper on the health system. The recent decades have been a witness to the emergence of megatrends that are bound to influence the delivery of health care in the United States of America in the times to come. The nation is already required to grapple with the challenge of bringing the augmenting health care costs within restraints. Add to it the trend towards the coming up of megacities, a fast-aging population, remarkably state of the art, yet immensely costly advances made in the science of diagnosis and treatment of diseases, a debilitating dearth of qualified doctors and nurses, is making the challenge of delivering health care more onerous and complex.
In that context, it is extremely important to delve into the nature of future challenges that are bound to impact health care in the United States of America. Though many consumers tend to complain about the dynamics and management of health insurance in the United States of America, yet it is a fact that a large number of citizens in this developed nation are going without any type of health insurance.
Even as per some conservative estimates, nearly forty-six million Americans are doing without any kind of health insurance (Feldstein, 2011). In the absence of health insurance, many Americans tend to ignore the health problems impacting them and are not able to benefit from preventive medicine. The individuals without health insurance tend to avoid doctors and hence, are more likely to be subject to serious illnesses (Feldstein, 2011). This also increases the risk of the spread of contagious diseases amongst the general public.
The next big challenge before the health care in the United States of America is the strong control of the pharmaceutical companies over the health care system (Feldstein, 2011). It goes without saying that the pharmaceutical companies have a lot to do with the breakthroughs in health care and biomedical research never comes cheap. However, with the shifting of the goal of the pharmaceutical companies from profit to extreme profit, it is bound to impact the affordability of health care in the country.
Currently, the United States of America is facing a nationwide shortage of health care personnel, which is leaving the already serving health care professionals stressed and exhausted. Owing to this shortage of personnel, many health care workers are made to serve in the specialties for which they are not qualified (Feldstein, 2011). It could safely be concluded that many errors occur in the national healthcare facilities owing to such a dearth of properly trained professionals. The healthcare system is seriously being jeopardized by these emerging challenges. There is no denying the fact that technology is playing a major role in changing the nature of health care in the United States of America.
Patients with serious or chronic illnesses like diabetes, hypertension and even the old and aged patients could now be treated in the comfort of their premises, courtesy the wellness monitoring technologies, which allow the health care professionals to monitor the condition of such patients from a distance (Spekowius & Wendler, 2006). Varied techno devices like electronic glucose readers, motion sensors, blood pressure monitors allow the doctors to keep a watch on their patients, while they are at home.
Earlier, the healthcare facilities had a little infiltration of IT inputs. However, with the realization of the fact that a free flow of information is vital to quality care, IT is increasingly facilitating integrated storage and flow of the health care information (Spekowius & Wendler, 2006). There is no denying the fact that the new technological innovations are indeed doing much to bring down the cost of health care in the country. Many new technological inputs have done much to make the delivery of health care extensive and cost-effective and this trend is expected to continue in the times to come (Spekowius & Wendler, 2006). Considering the fact that some major reforms are expected to take place in the American health care system in the near future, the developments in healthcare at an international are bound to impact the local health care system.
The policymakers are sure to take into account as to how the American health care system stands in comparison to the health care system in other countries (Johnson, 2010).
Till now it was widely believed that the United States of America enjoyed a competitive edge in health care technology and delivery (Johnson, 2010). America spends much more on its healthcare system as compared to any other country (Johnson, 2010). In comparison to other nations, the US economy is getting less competitive because of the burgeoning health care costs (Johnson, 2010). Hence the competition in the US health care industry is too narrow, mainly functional at health plans, choice of clinics, physician groups, and hospital groups, than actually addressing the cost of health care (Johnson, 2010).
To put it simply, US health care is getting less competitive. The biggest ethical challenge that the American health care sector is going to face in the times to come is the avoidance of conflict of interest (Pozgar, 2009). Doctors and nurses tend to be the prime targets of pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment manufacturers (Pozgar, 2009). The nurses and doctors are indeed getting a scarce resource. So the other ethical challenge before the American health care is to balance a need for enhancing margins, with good and affordable patient care (Pozgar, 2009).
There is no denying the fact that pediatric and geriatric patients tend to have less say in health care decision making. So the ethical challenge to opt for legal and informed decision making in the case of such patients falls into account of health care facilities and institutions (Pozgar, 2009). Hence the system does need to understand the relevance of ethics in the context of the complex environment in which it operates. It goes without saying that at present the American health care system is facing many critical challenges.
The policymakers need to pursue a proactive approach towards things, while paying attention to the need to boost margins, extending quality care, and opting for ethical approaches towards issues.
Feldstein, Paul J. (2011). Health Policy Issues. New York: Health Administration Press.
Johnson, Toni. (2010). Health Care Costs and US Competitiveness. Council on Foreign
Relations. Retrieved March 9, 2012 from http://www.cfr.org/health-science-and-technology/healthcare-costs-us-competitiveness/p13325.
Pozgar, George D. (2009). Legal and Ethical Issues for Healthcare Professionals. New York:
Jones & Bartlett.
Spekowius, Gerhard & Wendler, Thomas. (2006). Advances in Healthcare Technology. New