Ways in Which the American Healthcare System can be Improved


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The pandemic tested national health systems around the world, including the American health care system. It helped reveal some crucial areas within the American health care system that require improvement. 

Within this article, we will go over a few key issues identified within the American healthcare system that need to be focused on and improved while working toward a healthier America.

Exploratory Research Guide

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Five Areas of Focus for a Healthier America

These are five distinct areas that need to be prioritized so as to improve the overall American healthcare system and work toward a healthier and happier America. 

  • Racial Disparities

The pandemic shed light on the significant racial disparities that exist in the American healthcare system. Research published by JAMA revealed that the Covid-19 death rates per 10,000 were 5.6 for Black patients, 5.6 for Hispanic patients, 4.3 for Asian patients, and 2.3 for white patients. Unfortunately, these significant disparities are not unique to Covid-19, which has simply brought more attention to this lack of equity in health. 

In order to tackle these disparities, we must first address some of the key social determinants of health, which are defined by the CDC as: 

    • Neighbourhood and Physical environment 
    • Health and Health Care 
    • Occupation and Job Conditions 
    • Income and Wealth 
    • Education 
  • Health Care for Older Adults

It is predicted that by the year 2040, people of the ages sixty-five and older will account for a whopping 21.6 per cent of the American population. Resources will therefore need to be appropriately allocated to help ensure that these adults receive quality healthcare. Beyond highlighting racial disparities, the pandemic also exposed unequal health care for older adults. These systemic inequities need to be addressed to ensure a brighter future for the citizens of America. Measures such as increased investment in the geriatric workforce and telehealth can be taken in order to work toward this goal. 

  • Value-Based Care over Fee-for-Service Care

Value-based care ensures the right incentives are provided in the healthcare industry. Under value-based care, health care providers are paid based on capitation and patient health outcomes. This is in contrast to fee-for-service care in which providers are paid based on the volume of the procedures performed rather than the outcomes of their procedures. Value-based care helps improve the quality of life and takes advantage of integrated health care systems. It can also reduce the cost of health care by making it more accessible which in turn results in a reduction of the treatments required as people remain healthy. 

  • Increase Focus on Prevention

The coronavirus exacerbates underlying chronic conditions in people. This includes conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Although the virus proved to be dangerous even for those without such underlying conditions, it was especially deadly for those with them. The pandemic, therefore, highlighted the need for health care systems to increase their focus on disease prevention to decrease the vulnerability of the overall population. Preventive care gives health care providers more time to spend on high-risk patients as the overall number of patients will reduce. 

  • Create more Integrated Systems 

Another insight highlighted by the pandemic is that integrated health care delivery systems are versatile and are hence more suited to align incentives to changing environments and circumstances. Integrated health care delivery systems refer to delivery systems that offer their own insurance plan or are in partnership with external insurers to provide insurance plans. These integrated systems are less likely to experience an imbalanced distribution of patients as they can transfer patients between facilities, caregivers, care providers, and insurers. This cannot be said for non-integrated systems that are facing a tough time post the introduction of Covid-19 and are having to cut services and raise their prices. Integrated systems help ensure that the cost of providing and insuring care are always aligned in a way that benefits the insurer and the provider.

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FAQs on Healthcare in America

The pandemic highlighted racial disparities that already existed within the American healthcare system. A study published by JAMA revealed that the Covid-19 death rates per 10,000 were 5.6 for Black patients, 5.6 for Hispanic patients, 4.3 for Asian patients, and 2.3 for white patients.

Some key areas of focus for the American healthcare system should be: 

  • Addressing racial disparities
  • Focusing on preventative care
  • Prioritizing value-based care over fee-for-service care
  • Increased integrated systems
  • Increased investment in geriatric care

Value-based care focuses on outcome-based incentives whereas fee-for-service care focuses on volume-based incentives. 

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