Effects of Postponement of Medical Treatment
Healthcare reform has of recent become an issue that has attracted public attention globally and is being discussed not only in statehouses but also in public. The major issue with health care reform is the associated cost. The reason for this is that a large percentage of Americans are delaying medical attention and therefore influence medical costs. The postponement of medical treatment means long-term health consequences. Simple conditions gone untreated have turned into chronic to more severe conditions, therefore costing the insurance companies more money to cover these medical treatments. The higher cost in turn are passed on to employers which potentially means less benefits covered or less benefit options since employers pay a percentage of medical insurance cost. Lastly, postponement of medical treatment means more expenses over a longer period of treatment for patients. Through Causation and Effect writing, I am hoping to convey that postponement of healthcare is a critical subject, which needs better prioritizing since it means making a decision between life and death.
A patient is obliged to take care of his or her health regardless of the circumstances and situations which he/she encounters. Thus, the issues involved in patient care should not be a hindrance to healthcare practitioners taking extra care to the patients. A considerable amount of care to the patients should therefore be an imperative and vital aspect of healthcare and thus practitioners should be aware of their roles in the whole process. They ought to realize that they are dealing with life and thus provide the maximum care that is expected (Vlahakes and Lemmer, 2009). Medical practitioners should play an important role in trying to effectively educate patients on the benefits of timely access to healthcare and creating awareness on the risks involved in postponement of healthcare.
Health literacy is an aspect of the health practice which can be of great assistance towards the health of the patients in healthcare. Broadly, health literacy includes the ability of both the health practitioners and the patients having knowledge in medical education and drug prescription. Therefore, in order to solve the diverse issues involved in healthcare patient therapy, patients ought to have advanced knowledge in health communication and medical safety precautions required. Postponement in drug prescriptions, misapplication of prescriptions and outright postponement of access to medical services will reduce due to increased health literacy. Poor health literacy will more often than not result in patients who are poorly informed on the merits of accessing medical treatment early in their sickness and the associated costs of postponement of medical treatment will occur.
Health literacy is diverse in relation to the context and settings of the patient, but it is neither determined by the number of years one has been educated nor the experience in the medical facility. This can be endorsed by the fact that one may be very conversant with domestic chores but have an inadequacy in medical literacy. With the emergence of numerous advanced medical expertise areas and the emergence of complicated health problems, health facilities have been compelled to move towards a more “consumer concentric” healthcare system (Vlahakes & Lemmer, 2009). This should lead to increased awareness of the existing medical conditions and diseases and thus patients will be able to appreciate the importance of accessing medical care on time and avoid postponement and its associated risks and costs on money and life. Increased costs as a result of postponement of medical treatment have led to increased awareness through medical literature meant to counter the expensive trend.
According to Parker et al. (2003), issues in patient care should be an “overall effort that should be aimed at improving the quality of health care”. This will also be “intended in reducing the health care costs and the patients should also be involved in taking part in the most crucial decisions regarding their health status”. In fulfilling this, patients need to have adequate health information skills should they find themselves in dilemma in making crucial decisions. In order to overcome such circumstances, they should be required to have specific tasks which they are expected to carry out. The above tasks are thus essential towards provision of better healthcare. Involving patients in the healthcare process will lead to appreciation by patients of the need not to postpone acquisition of medical care since the social and economic costs of such an action will be obvious to them. These costs to patients should result in more patient oriented treatment where more tasks in the treatment process are assigned to the patient.
There ought to be quality scrutiny of the information provided by health experts as regards credibility and quality (Monagle and Morrison, 2009). The patients need to have a better understanding on analyzing the relative risks and benefits of a particular course of action. This should also help them in administering dosages and in interpreting the test results. This analytical ability to evaluate risks will play a major role in changing the trends in postponement of the provision of medical services, effectively reducing the costs in lives and monetary terms. Increased costs due to postponement of medical treatment have thus resulted in better scrutiny of information provided by medical experts.
Vlahakes and Lemmer (2009), argue that patients should also be well versed in the oral language which assists them in having a better articulation of their health concerns and being able to describe their symptoms accurately. They are supposed to ask pertinent questions regarding their health since they are expected to comprehend the spoken medical advice or the treatment directions applied by the health experts. A better diagnosis also means that they ought to be a shared responsibility between the physician and the patient. Patients ought to have a strong decision making skills. Non fulfillment of these issues may act as drawbacks in the health care provision issue as regards the patient’s ability and lead to the postponement of healthcare access.
Cultural competency is another aspect in the healthcare issue of the patient and this account for the highest proportion patient’s capacity. Within the last decade, there has been a significant evolution in medical literature that documents medical issues more deeply and covers a large past time period. As the nation and the world at large become more diverse, the social and cultural factors are also changing at a high rate and hence need to have a closer look at the issues affecting patients. A patient ought to know of the procedure of his diagnosis. Therefore, the clinical encounter should not be in contravention of the patient’s beliefs and should also not be contrary to the health care best practices (Parker, Et al 2003). Physicians should therefore be very certain on all the issues and be able to manage and negotiate them. Better cultural understanding has developed as a result in an attempt to counter the negative effects of postponement of medical treatment.
A significant amount literature has also emerged regarding racial and cultural disparities in health care. The literature implies that even though patients may have the same level of education, or being from a similar ethnic group or are being insured by a similar company, there is a possibility that they might receive different health care. There is a probability that whites may receive quality Medicare as compared to their black counterparts. For example, according to Guadagnino (2008), the discrimination occurs to patients having chest pains from the two races. The only remedy for fighting these disparities is by having effective communication between the doctor and the patient. In his article “Cultural competency for patient-centered care” Guadagnino (2008), for the past decade there has been realization that physicians can build on their own skills in the area of communication. This should be effective within all the cultures, and should be guided by the questions asked to the patients with an aim of obtaining relevant information on a patient’s health (Rice, 2009). Equality in provision of medical treatment is being achieved as measures to reduce the economically corrosive postponement of medical treatment are being put in place.
An individual’s health is an imperative and a vital aspect in life and therefore should be dealt with a lot of concern. Medical treatment postponement is expensive both in the short run and long run. Besides having an access to medical literature, the health facilities should also have funds to support solution of patients’ health issues to avoid the disastrous postponement of medical treatment. Federal funding is one of the sources of fund which health practitioners can register for as it offers maximum support towards the welfare of the hospital that in turn ensures quality care to patients. It can thus be argued that postponement of medical treatment and its associated economic and social costs has resulted in a more equitable provision of healthcare among different social groups, has led to the development of better understanding of medical conditions through medial literature and better cultural understanding in an attempt to reduce the expensive effects of medical treatment postponement. It can also be argued that postponement of medical treatment has resulted in more patient centered provision of healthcare where the patient is involved intensively in the process of medical treatment.
The costs to all stakeholders in the healthcare industry has therefore led to many beneficial changes and effects to all parties involved in the healthcare system and has had beneficial spill over effects to the American society at large.
Guadagnino, C. (2008). Cultural Competency for patient-centered care. Retrieved from http://www.physiciansnews.com/spotlight/608.html.
Monagle, J. & Morrison, E. (2009). Health care ethics: critical issues for the 21st century. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Barlett Learning.
Parker, R., Ratzan, C. & Lurie, N. (2003). Health Literacy: A Policy Challenge for Advancing High-Quality Health Care. Market Watch: Health Affairs (22) 4 Retrieved from http://www.sicklecelldisease.net/cbo/documents/v22n4s26.pdf.
Schneider, M. (2006). Introduction to public health. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Barlett Learning.
Vlahakes, J & Lemmer, J. (2009). Handbook of patient Care in cardiac surgery. (7th ed.), Chicago, IL: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.