Investment in the health sector is heavy and therefore it is the responsibility of the government of the day to ensure that the perceived benefits are derived. Health is a basic commodity to every one and anything that seems to scuttle the equitable provision to health is a disaster. The current economic world require institutions to cut cost and increase profitability at the same time patients would want to be assured that the treatment they receive are actually worth the cost incurred (Annual of Emergency medicine, 2000).
On the other side doctors and allied professionals are concerned about the services that they give to the public, do they meet the required standard? And that are they fully compensated or what implication do their services live on the public?
The responsibility of the government is to ensure that the members of the public are protected against any unprofessional service from unscrupulous vendors who pose as doctors and that maximum benefits accrue to both patients as well as doctors (Annual of Emergency medicine, 2000).
This is the essence behind carrying out cost analysis in the health care. In England for instance during the early periods of public hospitals were faced with congestion where patients would spend long hours queuing to get treatment. This scenario was identical in many of the public hospitals and a decision was reached to put pressure on doctors by introducing work targets, though it received a lot of criticisms from experts arguing that targets would lead to unfair competition and deviation from the standard. In situations where targets were introduced professionals would work to achieve the target but not to meet the desired outcome (Mason, 2008).
With continued debate on this matter a school of thought emerged from Scotland that instead of using work targets it was equally important to form teams and groups to form synergies to better tackle problems in the modern world. Cost –utility analysis a technique that gives a comparison between an outcome of a procedure and its cost in total respect to the patient (Mason, 2008).
In the public the problem has been to contrast policy cost effectiveness versus treatment cost effectiveness. While most doctors seem to be in darkness, the idea was already adopted in England and was being evaluated on its gross impact to the patients as well as the organizations. A study conducted by clinical practice guideline development group revealed the importance of utility cost analysis in the public health. This study clearly gave the differences between cost utility analysis and cost effectiveness measures (Annual of Emergency medicine, 2000).
Cost utility analysis is a method that is used to determine the manner in which resources are allocated. It includes calculation cost of disability adjusted life years.
In America professionals introduced a system in which Nurses were tested for their professional service through Nurse-sensitive indicators. This was to determine the effectiveness of professional nurses. Pressure is also mounting on nurses to adequately make maximum use of cost utility analyses. This is an important methodology that can be used to thoroughly diagnose patients (Mason, 2008).
The rationale behind all these costing techniques is to ensure that nurses and doctors understand the public expectation of cost effectiveness and quality patient care in general. If this cannot be met then there is no basis of having nurses undergoing such relevant training or occupying such technical and professional positions (Annual of Emergency medicine, 2000).
Utility cost analysis and cost effectiveness are both conspicuously used in England and the United States. The purpose of these techniques is to provide efficiency and effectiveness when at the same time quality is not compromised. These techniques are also used as performance measurement for doctors and nurses by the public. It is equally important that they provide valid and reliable assumptions before a decision to use them is reached otherwise nurses might not be able to interpret the result (Mason, 2008).
It is the responsibility government and its agencies to provide formal guidelines on such interventions and criteria which must be used with respect to those professional interventions and to ensure that who ever they fall under his/her docket is wholly aware and that there is no confusion. Utility cost analysis is also beneficial for the nurses themselves in the sense that they tend to understand the value achieved by adopting costing interventions (Annual of Emergency medicine, 2000).
Evaluation of nurses and the allied professionals have revealed a gap between the public expectations and the actual deliverance. It therefore the responsibility of these professionals to demand for higher skills and experience to shape their future and add value to their professions. Despite the mounting pressure to use the current nursing interventions, the techniques have not been put into use by other countries posing serious controversies. A lot more effort need to be employed in mobilizing people to understand the benefits associated with these interventions. It’s also difficult to determine the time when these benefits should be achieved using these costing techniques.
List of References
- Annual of Emergency medicine. (2000) Cost-Utility Analysis.
- Mason J, et al. (2008) When Is It cost-effective to Change the Behavior of Health Professionals? JAMA. 2001; 286:2988-2992.