The Influence of Globalization in Healthcare

Subject: Healthcare Research
Pages: 8
Words: 1956
Reading time:
7 min
Study level: Master


Globalization is strongly influencing the economy of the US, and the technology market is a key player. Organizations in developed nations have influenced globalization by channeling their services and products to the developing world and emerging markets. Moreover, upcoming markets are taking their services to developed nations, which has been facilitated by their provision of inexpensive, quality labor and services. Globalization has impacted healthcare by creating opportunities for different companies to generate more products and extend their market share (Schuftan, 2015). Healthcare organizations are obliged to comprehend the interdependencies intrinsic in their supply chains and evaluate their process through a tactical lens centered on public welfare. Globalization has caused changes where some products and services are not in the best interest of patients and hospitals in the United States. With globalization, there are countless important and problematic economic as well as health issues.


Though globalization of health care provides remarkable possibilities for excellence, for instance, quick response to disasters, it also causes negative concerns such as the rapid spread of diseases. Globalization has turned out to be a two-way avenue where both sides capitalize on each other’s economies and markets, which generates virtual international labor as well as market force (Burns, Bradley, & Weiner, 2011). The US healthcare sector has been found more resistant to offshore services and outsourcing than other industries. This is attributable to the sector being remarkably shielded from negative environmental, cultural, regulatory requirements, and other associated concerns. Moreover, payers and suppliers in the healthcare system seem more insistent on the provision of quality services. The providers appear to utilize offshore services, particularly technology services, through the US-based corporations and subsidiaries (Lee, Hamelin, & Daugherty, 2018). Only a handful of providers directly contract for such services. Offshore services are evident in a range of health care sectors such as clinical transcription, development of interface, doctors credentialing, teleradiology, processing of claims, programming, helpdesk, call center support services, and writing of reports.

Information technology is a vital area where globalization has influenced health care in the United States. Most of the best healthcare technology companies in the US have considerable or increasing overseas operations, whereas others are outsourcing them. Clients of healthcare technology in the United States are most probably customers of overseas services in one way or another. The extent of healthcare outsourcing and offshore services in the United States differ across caregivers, clients, and suppliers (Bell, Holliday, Ormond, & Mainil, 2015). Many predict conservative levels of growth with organizations employing the services just in aspects not vital to their success and aggressive position. Challenges in the US healthcare sector concerning offshore services are intensified by the highly regulatory setting and compliance obligations.

Cost decrease and savings do not form a solid basis for the application of offshore services in the US healthcare sector. Companies are also considering the manner in which offshore services may be employed as a tactical tool incorporated in the business model (Schuftan, 2015). For instance, providers ought to assess whether such services would back and advance their overall capacity to offer quality practices and their contribution to enhanced patient safety or improved delivery of care. Despite the tendencies, offshore and outsourcing services will continue to be part of the healthcare sector.

The impact of globalization on health care in the United States is intricate. On the face of it, most people would feel that globalization has played an overall constructive role in people’s wellbeing, which is in numerous approaches true. For example, the international communication and transportation revolution has facilitated swift response to epidemics and disasters hence saving many lives. Nevertheless, there is a negative influence of globalization on the health and welfare of people in the United States (Burns et al., 2011). For instance, attributable to the increased mobility of individuals across national borders, there is an increased spread of infectious diseases hence presenting a great threat. With enhanced globalization, no microbe is over twenty-four hours far from getting into the United States.

It is overly crude and mistaken to claim that globalization is either beneficial or detrimental to health care in the United States. For developed nations such as the US, the concerns of health and globalization have a tendency of focusing on the perceived threat from developing countries because of the possibility of contracting epidemics and acute infections, for instance, tuberculosis, plague, HIV/AIDS, and of late, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). The US is also facing the issue of financial burdens with unhealthy populations migrating to live in the country. There are also concerns about the risks that the United States may export to other countries through products that include junk food and tobacco and macroeconomic policies that influence economic strategies and debt burden negatively (Lee et al., 2018). Globalization has increased the propensity of ignoring the gains to the US from population mobility. The migration of caregivers from developing countries provides remarkable benefits to the health systems in the US but at the cost of the capacity in such nations, which are left with a shortage of medical professionals. The enhanced movement of personnel and products has created an intricate equation of gains and losses both for the United States and other countries.

Attributable to globalization, modern technology has enabled the United States health care sector to respond more effectively to emergencies. For instance, a global system of institutions organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) through international telecommunication may successfully identify and rapidly react to infections of influenza, Ebola, and other outbreaks. Such a capability was impossible after the Second World War when approximately twenty million people lost their lives from influenza across the globe (Bell et al., 2015). With globalization, the cognitive influence caused by marketing and advertisement of unhealthy consumer products has increased the international spread of lifestyle diseases such as obesity. The extension of reforms in the health sector in the US may also be identified as the occurrence of cognitive globalization in the transfer of medical policies and financing strategies around the globe. The US health sector has the trouble of sifting through and adjusting some medical policies to local perspectives. Global consciousness has also resulted in the augmented sharing of values, moral standards, and principles that influence decision-making concerning health issues.

Globalization will keep on influencing not just the US business and economic landscape but also the healthcare system. The manner in which the health sector manages and utilizes offshore and outsourcing services will also keep changing. To prevent the detrimental effects of globalization and exploit the benefits, the health sector in the US should seek the services of professionals and specialists in researching offshore and outsourcing concerns (Schuftan, 2015). This could provide a wealth of knowledge regarding risk factors and the best approach to dealing with the arising problems. There is a need to evaluate the gains or losses of using offshore services despite their being contracted through American-based entities. Though contracted specialists and professionals might not change existing contracts and relationships, they are in a better position to cause positive change and support planning.

Flowing Across International Borders

Attributable to globalization, there is a rising interconnectedness among countries, in addition to the increasing interdependence of human society. This leads to health effects going on in one part of the globe being felt far away. Globalization has also influenced the flow of patients, health care workers, management practices, and medical policies across international boundaries (Burns et al., 2011). For example, patients have increasingly started seeking treatment in health facilities overseas, and medical professionals have become eager to relocate abroad attributable to factors such as high salaries. Health professionals across different countries are having interchanges, which result in new managerial practices and medical policies spreading from one nation to another.

Attributable to globalization, medical tourism has become a term coined to denote patients who cross international boundaries with the intention of seeking treatment overseas. This portrays the activities and preferences of people who make health decisions to obtain medical treatment across international borders. From a wide perspective, medical tourism holds all facets of patients accessing treatment and making improvements or transformations through medical and welfare processes with the added aspect satisfying their desire for wellness in a different country. The internet has facilitated the flow of patients, health care workers, management practices, and medical policies overseas with the provision of information regarding advanced medical services in different countries (Bell et al., 2015). Government planners, ministers of health, and economists should use such information to maximize gains to the healthcare sector in the US or their respective countries while addressing the drawbacks.

Different forces compel medical tourism. They include escalation of medical costs in the home country, increasing aging population, technological advancements in the health sector in some nations, highly skilled specialists, accessibility of prescription medicines, and mounting prevalence of chronic diseases. Fascinatingly, it has been established that the rising trend concerning medical tourism in the US, where a high number of patients are traveling to developing nations in search of treatment, is partially motivated by consumerism (Connell, 2016). Therefore, patients have become more like traders in businesses and choose to embark on more active functions in the management of their wellbeing.

The flow of health care workers across international borders affects both skilled and untrained occupations, with a noteworthy inclination being the increasing level of females in this category. Transnational labor movement considerably varies from the global exportation and importation of products (Burns et al., 2011). Unlike goods, the migration of workers involves interactions among people of different nationalities, ethnic backgrounds, ages, genders, and classes while building new relationships and modifying the extant ones. Apart from the search for high salaries and benefits, the prestige of working abroad motivates health professionals from developing countries to seek employment there. Nations such as India, Cuba, and the Philippines have policies that shape labor export plans.

Some countries, for example, Cuba, are making considerable ventures in training health professionals for export. In exchange, the migrant workers build the economies of their home countries in terms of remittances and improved proficiencies when they eventually return. The contribution of emigrant health professionals is essential in the fabric of economic development (Bell et al., 2015). However, this does not mean that destination countries do not gain from migrant health workers. When their labor force is improved, brain gain is acquired from the skilled personnel migrating into the country. This also boosts population diversity, and savings are achieved because there is no need to train additional health workers. Furthermore, the nations of origin suffer particularly with respect to brain drain.

Attributable to improved telecommunication expertise that enables real-time communication among players far apart, there has been increased sharing of management skills and health policies. A perfect instance of such sharing is the patient classification system. The government of the US-directed that health institutions take up a patient classification system called Diagnosis-Related Groups. Research experts at Yale University devised the system with the aim of offering a tool for the identification of case-mix differences from one infirmary to another and establish costs and prices more successfully. Since then, different versions of the Diagnosis-Related Groups have been adopted in about 30 nations around the world (Connell, 2016).


The influence of globalization in healthcare is evident in the establishment of opportunities for diverse organizations to create more products and broaden their market share. Nevertheless, this has brought about countless fundamental and challenging economic as well as health concerns. In the present times, health care provides not just remarkable possibilities, for instance, quick reaction to calamities but also gives rise to depressing occurrences such as the quick spread of diseases. Globalization has greatly facilitated the flow of patients, caregivers, managerial practices, and health policies across international boundaries.


Bell, D., Holliday, R., Ormond, M., & Mainil, T. (2015). Transnational healthcare, cross-border perspectives. Social Science & Medicine, 124, 284-289.

Burns, L., Bradley, E., & Weiner, B. (2011). Shortell and Kaluzny’s healthcare management: Organization design and behavior (6th ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Connell, J. (2016). Reducing the scale? From global images to border crossings in medical tourism. Global Networks, 16(4), 531-550.

Lee, E., Hamelin, T., & Daugherty, J. (2018). Globalization of health service: Sharing of best practices in perianesthesia nursing care, a case study of cross-border institutional collaboration. Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing, 33(2), 209-219.

Schuftan, C. (2015). Commentary: Globalization, health sector reform, and the human right to health: Implications for future health policy. International Journal of Health Services, 45(1), 187-193.