The upsurge in the global pandemic has undoubtedly exposed the inadequacies of the healthcare sector. The current pandemic forced health administrators and policymakers to take notes of the weaknesses prevailing in the healthcare systems. People have paid a high price for ineffective medical procedures and inconsistent healthcare services.
Besides, the rising costs of healthcare have often compelled people to choose to discontinue treatment. According to a 2019 Gallup study, one-quarter of American adults have made the difficult choice of putting off treatment for medical conditions because of exorbitant prices. Undoubtedly, the healthcare sector is going through a hard time. In addition, the complex administrative challenges within healthcare make the problems even more complicated.
Today, it has become crucial to identify these problems before things take a turn for the worse. However, doing so will require a cumulative effort. Besides, healthcare professionals will have to think beyond conventional ideas to bring innovative solutions for the existing problems.
It is no wonder that many leaders are going back to school to know more about these issues and ways to resolve them. Educational institutions are now making efforts to develop increased awareness regarding career prospects in healthcare. Similarly, many doctors and nurses have signed up for an online MBA in health administration to upskill their career prospects. It would further enable them to participate in administrative activities for consistent improvements in the healthcare system. Similarly, nurse leaders are actively taking part in policy-making for a patient-centric approach to healthcare.
Below, we’ve discussed some existing issues in the healthcare administration and management that affect the quality of healthcare.
1. Rising costs
Undoubtedly, one of the most highlighted issues of healthcare is the rising costs of treatment. The inefficiency and opaque policies have made these problems worse. According to an analysis, low-income families are less likely to have health insurance. In contrast, those who can benefit from employer coverage have to pay high premiums compared to high-income employees. Some of the major reasons leading to the rise in healthcare costs include population growth, service price, and intensity, utilization of medical services, population growth, population aging, etc., which have made it difficult to meet individual needs.
2. Protecting against cyber-attacks
Although the medical community has embraced big data still, no significant measures have been observed to secure patient information. Most of the patient’s data is stored in hospital servers, making cybersecurity a growing challenge in the healthcare sector. These attacks not only leak patients’ sensitive information but also cost healthcare units millions of dollars.
According to one report, around 2,550 data breach cases have been reported over the last decade, which has affected the medical records of millions of patients. Healthcare institutions must protect patient records under the privacy and security rules to prevent incurring heavy penalties.
3. Evolving reimbursement models
Today, healthcare institutions are working to introduce new payment models that focus more on the quality of its outcomes instead of the number of patients treated individually. Different organizations are using this innovative approach to improvise their payment models. Not only will this reduce gross expenditure, but the staff will also take a more active role in improving the quality of their services. Its administrators and managers can play a crucial role by devising suitable policies and providing training to its staff regarding these expected changes in the healthcare system.
4. Medical errors
Medical errors can lead to significant consequences on a patient’s health and may increase medical expenses. According to research from John Hopkins, more than 250,000 Americans lose their lives annually due to a medical error. Some of the common medical errors include misdiagnosis, medication error, faulty medical devices, delayed diagnosis, etc. These errors cost these institutions approximately 15 percent of total expenditure. However, lack of coordination, training, long working hours of doctors, human error, or lack of experience are some common factors behind the increasing frequency of medical errors.
5. Staffing shortages
There is a global shortage of healthcare professionals. According to the new data published by AAMC (Association of American Medical Colleges), the US may face a shortage of up to 121,300 physicians by 2030. Besides, more and more hospitals are now facing a shortage of skilled nurses. Burnout and lack of a significant number of nursing graduates are some fundamental reasons for the staffing deficit. Therefore hospitals have to partner with nursing schools to encourage more students to enter the field. Administrators can also focus on retaining skilled and competent healthcare staff while hiring new ones. Besides, introducing wellness programs, flexible schedules, and developing crisis capacity strategies can help in mitigating staffing shortages.
Several issues are arising within the healthcare system. These include high costs of treatment, medical errors, security threats, lack of staff, reimbursement models, etc. However, healthcare professionals can work together to resolve these problems. Doing so will require a shift from the traditional approach of focusing on the costs and services rendered to patient outcomes.