Effectiveness, efficacy, and sustainability are critical issues in the delivery of medical services in every country. Unfortunately, different variations in the quality of healthcare outcomes continue to be recorded in the United States. A detailed analysis of such gaps can make it possible for stakeholders and policymakers to implement superior measures to address them and identify emerging opportunities for minimizing medical costs. This paper discusses the existing disparity in health spending and how different patient experiences continue to be recorded in the US.
Description of the Selected Variation
Many Americans incur numerous costs whenever trying to get timely medical services. The government’s expenditure on health has continued to increase significantly within the past three decades. Despite such high budgetary allocations, this country scores poorly in various wellbeing indicators, including life expectancy and opportunistic diseases. Regional variation in medical spending is a major challenge affecting the US (Burke & Ryan, 2014). Such differences have been observed to result in diverse patient outcomes.
In regions that incur numerous expenditures, citizens continue to receive poor services and even record undesirable experiences. This means that the existing variation in medical spending is not correlated with the wellbeing of the targeted beneficiaries. This price variation indicates that some people might be forced to incur numerous expenses than others whenever they are seeking exemplary and sustainable medical services (Burke & Ryan, 2014). This challenge calls for evidence-based measures to reduce such variation in care delivery and improve the experiences of more American citizens.
Opportunities for Improvement
The existence of variation in health prices means that individuals in underserved regions will be unable to achieve their health goals. While the expenses for medical services remain high, only a small percentage of the US population has managed to record desirable experiences. Fortunately, there are specific opportunities for improving the current situation and making sure there are no significant variations in medical costs and patient outcomes (Joshi, Ransom, Nash, & Ransom, 2014). The first one is the availability of adequate financial and budgetary allocations from the federal government. Different stakeholders can utilize such resources efficiently to overcome this disparity and support the delivery of affordable and high-quality care in every region across this country.
The second opportunity is the availability of competent practitioners, physicians, and caregivers in this country. Such professionals possess adequate skills that the government can tap into to improve the quality of medical services in all regions across the US (Joshi et al., 2014). The third one is that the US has one of the most organized healthcare systems characterized by private providers, insurers, and government systems. All stakeholders and agencies can identify evidence-based practices for overcoming the current variation and ensuring that patients record positive health outcomes.
The fourth opportunity revolves around the concept of a single-payer system. The US stands a chance to analyze the health care system implemented in Canada and learn more about its benefits. Such a model can become the best example for transforming the way care is delivered to different patients and populations (Burke & Ryan, 2014). Finally, the emergence of modern technologies and health informatics will support the improvement of the current system and ensure that more citizens record positive experiences.
Several solutions and initiatives are needed in an attempt to deal with this variation problem and support the delivery of uniform and sustainable health care. Firstly, a multimodal approach can harmonize the existing medical procedures in every rural and urban area. This strategy will make sure that all institutions incur similar expenses and design appropriate models that focus on the targeted health results (Joshi et al., 2014). Secondly, existing agencies can collaborate with insurers to evaluate the implemented payment systems and focus on appropriate measures to streamline medical expenses.
Thirdly, emerging research findings can be adopted and considered to develop new guidelines that can support the delivery of high-quality and uniform services to all citizens. Such measures can present new ways of reducing costs for different patients across the country. Fourthly, there is a need for the government to ensure that the level of private-payer transparency is increased. A concept is known as “reference pricing” will ensure that all patients incur similar expenses across the board, thereby addressing the targeted variation and minimizing costs (Burke & Ryan, 2014). Fifthly, new studies aimed at understanding the major causes of overutilization will streamline the availability of medical services. This is true since the presented results will identify evidence-based initiatives to mitigate any form of wastage. Finally, physicians and caregivers can consider emerging clinical guidelines and apply their competencies to transform care delivery processes.
The above discussion has indicated that the US is presently facing the problem of variation in medical expenses and costs. Some people in urban and rural areas have to incur increased expenses without necessarily receiving exemplary health services. This gap reveals that the problem of disparity in medical experiences is something that continues to affect many citizens. The outlined opportunities and the introduction of a single-payer system can mitigate this variation and make it easier for more patients to lead high-quality lives.
Burke, L. A., & Ryan, A. M. (2014). The complex relationship between cost and quality in US health care. AMA Journal of Ethics: Virtual Mentor, 16(2), 124-130. Web.
Joshi, M., Ransom, E. R., Nash, D. B., & Ransom, S. B. (2014). The healthcare quality book: Vision, strategy, and tools (3rd ed.). Chicago, IL: Health Administration Press.