Collaborative approaches to health
The study guide provides a thorough description of what a healthcare system is expected to deliver, as well as how the target population receives the benefits of healthcare. The importance of health in terms of social conditions and economy are also described, as a disease-free society is known to be at an optimal condition to perform up to its utmost capacity in production, education and social norms. The study guide is categorized into 4 topics, of which each concept is presented in detail.
There are a number of approaches that may be employed in order to attain an effective healthcare system. It is also important that each current healthcare system be routinely reviewed in terms of its efficiency, as well as in terms of the conditions of the stakeholders. It should be understood that an effectual healthcare system addresses the most prominent and common diseases that the target population is experiencing. For example, a population that shows a high incidence of cancer will not benefit from a healthcare system that is focused on treating infectious diseases. Hence, it is important that a comprehensive survey of the most common diseases a target population experiences so that the efforts may be geared towards addressing these issues. The stratification of the ages of the members of the population should also be considered because it is expected that the elderly members of a population would encounter more medical disorders than its younger counterparts.
The study guide serves as a good instructional material for readers that are associated with the health sciences. It is also an essential reference for policy-making bodies, as well as legislators who are interested in spearheading reforms in their own current healthcare systems.
Topic 1 defines the concept of a healthcare system, which is actually a blend of both public and private agencies that support the implementation and delivery of medical services to a target population. This section explains that the general features of a healthcare system are similar, yet the details of each system may be different from one country to another. The variations in the details of healthcare system are mainly due to the needs of the target population. The main stakeholders of a healthcare system are the member of the target population, as well as the healthcare professionals. The main features of a healthcare system are based on the health conditions of the target population, wherein the most common diseases are included in the design of health services that are offered in the area.
It should be understood that the success of a healthcare system depends on the support of both government and private agencies. Government officials should be supportive of the health services that are available in the country and in cases where there are no available services for a particular disease, it is important the legislative initiatives are implemented in order to put these particular services in place. Private agencies may also help in creating an effective healthcare system by educating the members of the society on specific medical conditions, as well as helping these individuals appreciate the services that are being offered in their local healthcare institutions. There may be cases when barriers may prevent the members of society from availing of healthcare services. These include cultural and religious beliefs of individuals in a particular country, wherein they perceive a particular medical procedure as a violation of their religious beliefs. Government officials have a strong influence on the expansion and reform of current healthcare systems in every country because they have the ability to influence and generate financial support that is needed in establishing healthcare policies, as well as propose any improvements that may be needed in the current healthcare system.
Topic 2 explains the concept of health and how it affects other aspects of society. This section of the study guide defines health as a major force that influences a number of aspects of a country, including its social conditions, its economy, as well as its political stability. This definition thus provides a more holistic view of health, which was classically perceived as a concept that only encompassed issues with the body and the environment. The section well explains that a healthy society always generates a stable population. A healthy society also results in a good economy because its members can work to its full capacity and minimal risk for suffering from medical disorders. A healthy society is also far from experiencing criminal activities because the mental health of its members are diagnosed early and immediately treated.
A healthy society will also experience less sick days from office work, which in turn may boost a company’s revenue. The section thus imparts a good explanation on how health strongly influences the stability and success of a country. There are a number of health indicators that may be assessed in order to determine whether a certain target population is healthy or not. One of these indicators is the incidence of diseases (Subramanian et al., 2002). A healthy society generally has a low incidence of illness and this is mainly due to a good healthcare system that promotes preventive care over treating a patient who is already afflicted with a disease. Another health indicator is mortality, wherein a population that is characterized by a high death rate each year means that the health of its members is not well taken care of. It should be understood that mortalities due to old age are common in every population, but mortalities among middle-aged or children in a population are direct proof that these individuals are afflicted with diseases that could have been prevented or treated.
Topic 3 provides a comprehensive description of collaborative efforts towards achieving an effective healthcare system. The roles of different stakeholders are explained, of which include the healthcare professionals, as well as the funding agencies and the end-users or the members of the society. A collaborative effort in healthcare allows a concerted effort in providing the best possible medical services to a target population. It should be understood that all stakeholders in this collaborative effort will benefit. In the case of funding agencies such as pharmaceuticals that support the construction of a clinic in a small town in a developing country, this company will be able to increase their sales of their drugs and vaccines. Healthcare professionals will also benefit from such collaboration because the establishment of a local hospital or clinic will provide them additional options for work. The end-users or consumers, which are identified here as the members of the target population, may definitely benefit from the collaborative effort because they are given access to healthcare services within their own locale.
Another form of collaboration may be observed in evidence-based practices that are implemented in healthcare institutions. These practices are based on documented clinical trials that have been determined to be effective for treatment of particular diseases. The employment of evidence-based treatments prevents healthcare practitioners from performing experimental tests on the patients to determine whether a certain procedure will be effective or not. There are also other forms of collaboration that are participated by different healthcare practitioners from around the world. These international conferences are aimed towards providing a venue for health specialists to discuss specific diagnostic and treatment procedures that may augment the conditions of patients with a particular disease.
Topic 4 discussed the concept of healthcare reform, which is an action that is performed in order to improve the delivery of services to the target population. The current focus of most healthcare reform initiatives is disease management, which is based on the most frequent medical conditions that are observed in society. For example, most individuals in developing countries suffer from respiratory diseases because the quality of air and the cleanliness of the environment are not maintained. It is thus important the reforms in the current healthcare systems in these countries concentrate of improving and expanding medical services that could facilitate the diagnosis and treatment of respiratory diseases.
This section also describes the importance of evaluation tools in determining the effectiveness of the current healthcare system of a country. In developed countries such as Canada and the United States, routine evaluation programs are conducted in order to determine whether the current healthcare system still addresses the actual health problems of the target population. It is possible that through time, the healthcare needs of the target population changes because the members of the society are growing older. In addition, the lifestyles of the members of society also changes through time and thus routine evaluation programs may determine whether the current healthcare system correspondingly address such changes in healthcare services in the area.
The importance of literacy in healthcare is also discussed in this section. Literacy plays an important role in achieving a healthy society because it allows the members of a population to understand the benefits of a particular medical procedure and the risks of a specific disease. Literacy in healthcare also teaches society on how to adapt preventive measures that could significantly decrease the incidence of diseases in the population.
Subramanian, S.V., Belli, P. and Kawachi, I. (2002). The macrodeterminants of health. Annual Reviews in Public Health, 23,287-302.