Consumer Demand For Health Care Services
Health care providers are professionals who are concerned with delivery of activities which are meant to improve the health status of human beings. The health care field has many departments which are concerned with promoting health as well as managing diseases so that they are contained to prevent their spread.There has been a severe shortage of health care providers due to huge disparities posted by less professionals being trained as well as the longer periods of training before attaining the required standards. The impact of few healthcare providers is often exemplified by high mortality rate especially in women during childbirth. The infant mortality due to lack of adequate affordable health care facilities and personnel is often caused by the shortage.Research has shown that the shortage of health care providers has been felt more by the middle as well as the lower class society who cannot afford to pay for private services. The private health care facilities are usually costly while the public facilities are usually congested with few personnel such that the quality of the services is usually strained.
Shortage of Health Care Providers
Health care is the treatment and prevention of illness which is offered by professionals in medicine, hospitals and allied health. Access to health care in the United States has been hindered by failure of the public to understand various aspects of healthcare such as public health for the entire population and the medical management of illness Kane, (2007).Since its inception, health care has been delivered by trained professionals who are extracted from different disciplines such as nursing, dentistry, social work and pharmacy.
These sectors which incorporate the health-care industry are given the mandate of availing services and products which are related to human health. Health care activities are not necessarily held in hospitals as at times some are conducted in the communities where people live or at the workplace Isgur, (2008).Over the years, Americans have been facing reduced health care provision due to the number of physicians receding hence making it hard to find quality healthcare services which are affordable. One of the major aspects which is attributed to the shortage of physicians is the length of time taken to train doctors until they are through with their studies.
A general physician requires an average ten years to complete basic training such that within that period, more children are being born and they will require adequate health care before the student doctor is allowed to practice Raible, (2008).Similarly, changing lifestyles have led to development of diseases which were unknown a few years ago hence calling for more specialists in the field. As the demand for specialized treatment increases, the supply of medical professionals has declined thus causing a huge disparity as the demand is high above the supply Getzen, (2007).A major implication caused by shortage of medical professionals is high mortality rates among all age groups while the public loses trust in the health care system. This is quite complex because access to quality health care is an indicator of individual well being Raible, (2008).
The impact of shortage of health care providers
Presence of few health care providers in the country has led to an increase in the number of deaths resulting from minor illnesses as some of the patients require counseling or patient based therapy to get well. Research has shown that patients who are constantly under the watch of health care providers regardless of whether medication is provided or not are able to recover at a higher rate than those who are ailing back at home. The presence of a health care provider creates a more comforting environment hence increasing the inner strength of the individual and they are able to fight for their lives Raible, (2008).Shortage of health care providers has created a certain degree of uncertainty among patients because they lack the surety associated with readily available health care Isgur, (2008).
Consequently, they are never sure whether they will be able to access the facilities even after they are reassured of its availability. This increases the mortality rate as the patients are never sure of what to expect whenever they fall sick Kane, (2007).Generally, shortage of health acre providers is a clear indication that the government tends to overload the few who are there especially in government owned health facilities. This causes a lot of strain to the health care providers such that they have a lot of work in their hands and the time allocated for each patient is limited. This reduces the quality of attention and service provided for the patient as the health care provider will rush to attend to more patients.Consequently, this leads to the health care providers being stressed and fatigued by the end of the day such that the probability of medical errors arising is quite high Raible, (2008).
Cases of wrong medication being administered to the wrong patient or else cases of incomplete health care are common in situations where the demand of health care providers exceeds the supply. This situation also limits the capacity of health care providers to get involved in the engaging the patients to participate in their own health care promotion in order to minimize occurrence of minor ailments Kane, (2007).Shortage of health care providers has largely caused racial discrimination as a white doctor attending to a hundred black patients and a few white patients will give preferential treatment to the whites as compared to the blacks. Racial discrimination is especially common in rural America as well as in areas which have more minority groups than whites. Similarly, very few health care providers are non-whites therefore the disparity is seen during preferential treatment of some patients Isgur, (2008).
Supporting shortage of health care providers rationale
Generally a wide information gap usually exists between health care providers and their patients such that it is only by offering considerable time for individual patients that the health care provider can be able to gauge out the full information from a patient. Such a move calls for increased supply of health care providers such that the patient is able to share their problems with the health care provider and in the process a solution is found and administered. Such a scenario will reduce medical errors in addition to increasing patient participation in their own health care Kane, (2007).Congress plays a key role in determining the number of doctors to be deployed in each state dependent on the federal funding provided for residency. This has led to low numbers of doctors in certain areas where the demand is high due to inadequate funds Getzen, (2007).
Shortage of health care providers is a global pandemic which should be solved promptly to reduce the number of lives being lost due to unavailability of health care providers. Other than increasing their population the government should take note of availing medical facilities for all especially those who live in marginal areas. Many people lose their lives due to unavailability of health care services and providers in most areas hence a need to work on increasing the supply.
Getzen, T.E. (2007), Health economics and financing 3rd ed. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons
Kane, D. (2007), Strategies emerge to bring supply costs down. Hospitals and Health Networks. Vol. 81, iss. 8. pp. 32
Isgur, B. (2008), Healing the health care staffing shortage. Trustee, Vol. 61, Iss. 2, pp. 18-21
Raible, E. (2008), Looming shortage of health care practitioners due to systemic inadequacies. Endocrine Today, vol. 6. iss. 14, pp. 1-11.