Healthcare Reform

Although health reform has been proposed frequently in the United States, it has rarely been implemented. In most cases, the reforms aim to reduce waste and inefficiency in various health metrics. Furthermore, the cost of healthcare services in the country is far too high, prompting many reforms. In other words, rising medical costs affect not only American citizens but also threaten to deplete the federal budget. Other health reforms are suggested to improve the quality of care and increase the number of people in the United States who have health insurance to cover their costs. Changes are essential to stem the economic costs of health care fraud, thereby promoting transparency. The essay will analyze three health reforms articles and determine how they have impacted the economy, quality, and patient safety. Additionally, this paper will describe the influence of these factors on the healthcare system of the United States.

Health Information Technology

The effects of health information technology on quality in US hospitals by McCullough et al., 2010, addresses the impacts of IT in healthcare. Health reform has pushed for incorporation of health information technology in the hospital operations. However, there is uncertainties about the returns of adopting such technologies in the health care facilities. Although the use of electronic health records and computerized physician order entry have improved the quality of medical services, there is still room for increasing their efficiency. For instance, policies should be developed to help to improve the efficacy of health IT, especially in non-academic hospitals (McCullough, Casey, Moscovice, & Prasad, 2010). Moreover, it is crucial to realize that hospitals should give more time to such a health reform before achieving substantive benefits as it is a lengthy process. National implementation of health reform requires ample time to replace successfully the previous procedures and terms of service.

Job Satisfaction and Turn Over

Davidson et al., 2012 also addresses the effect of health care reforms on job satisfaction and voluntary turnover among hospital-based nurses. According to the authors, reducing the cost of health care in hospitals have consequences, which include major changes in the work life of nurses. As a result of rising patient acuity, the job of nurses become more difficult and technical. This, in turn, leads to a decline in most aspects of their job satisfaction and voluntary turnover; the main causes were determined to be great workload and poor instrumental communication within the health care facility. It is of the essence to recognize that nurses’ job satisfaction plays a significant role in the delivery of quality health care to patients, the aspect advocated for by health reform (Davidson, Folcarelli, Crawford, Duprat, & Clifford, 2012). Additionally, the role of nurses in ensuring efficiency and sustainability of health care system is affected due to implementation of health reforms.

Workforce Requirement

Weiner, 2013 talks about forecasting the effects of health reform on US physician workforce requirement. This article estimates the consequences of health reform considering that Americans are set to receive care from integrated managed care networks. There is a need to balance the supply of physicians to cater for the estimated overall surplus of patients who will be covered by some type of health insurance. Health care facilities require abundance of both doctors and support staff to maintain a balance in both primary care and specialty medicine fields. Furthermore, getting physicians who can practice at the two interfaces will ensure the facilities meet the national needs adequately. Additionally, in the wake of technology, it will be essential for hospitals to have a workforce of highly skilled medical professionals (Weiner, 2013). This will ensure that such workers are able to take care of patients in the technologically advanced clinical environment created by health reform in the country.

Effects of Health Reform

In the United States, health reforms are often aimed at providing more affordable and quality health care services to all citizens. However, in most cases, the intentions were one-sided, paying little attention to creating a patient-doctor balance. For instance, the patient protection and affordable care act sought to ensure more people acquire health insurance covers. This, in turn meant more patients in hospitals as they could now access medical attentions. However, there was little or more concern on increasing the number of physicians to cater for the surplus patient population. Additionally, the quality of care is affected since the hospital workforce is not sufficient and operates under pressure, thereby affecting their job satisfaction and rate of turnover (Ham, 2014). In terms of economics, the government is able to reduce the budget amount allocated for the health sector since many people can afford medical attention with insurance covers.

Conclusion

Health reform in the United States has usually been proposed to improve affordability, accessibility, and quality of healthcare. The ACA is the most popular and significant health reform enacted into law in the country. However, every reform has its effect on quality of delivery, workforce satisfaction, and the nation’s economic progress. After analyzing three articles addressing the impacts of health reforms in the healthcare systems, it is evident that there should be a creation of balance. For instance, failure to provide an abundance of physicians will affect the quality of medical care services due to the surplus patient population. In the same way, if hospital work becomes more complicated and technical, there will be a high turnover of the workforce due to lack of satisfaction. Therefore, it is critical to ensure that health reforms proposed by any party establish a balance in the health care system to promote efficiency.

References

Davidson, H., Folcarelli, P. H., Crawford, S., Duprat, L. J., & Clifford, J. C. (2012). The effects of health care reforms on job satisfaction and voluntary turnover among hospital-based nurses. Medical care, 35(6), 634-645.

Ham, C. (Ed.). (2014). Health care reform: learning from international experience. Buckingham: Open University Press.

McCullough, J. S., Casey, M., Moscovice, I., & Prasad, S. (2010). The effect of health information technology on quality in US hospitals. Health Affairs, 29(4), 647-654.

Weiner, J. P. (2013). Forecasting the effects of health reform on US physician workforce requirement: evidence from HMO staffing patterns. Jama, 272(3), 222-230.

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