Healthcare System and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
The Healthcare System
The ascendancy and power of the medical profession is a historical factor that has influenced the modern healthcare system. With time, medical professionals and healthcare providers have exerted substantial authority and control to organize the health care system, as well as enhance the delivery of quality care patients. Moreover, social factors like poverty and low education levels of people have impacted the modern healthcare system. The healthcare system has in the past embarked on programs to address the underlying social determinants responsible for healthcare inequality (Eckelman and Sherman 4). Consequently, the allocation of funds and resources to support public health initiatives is a political decision influencing the healthcare system. Eckelman and Sherman acknowledge that healthcare practice happens in public agencies and operations are dependent on the government’s funds for support (7). During the last century, Congress directed spending requests demonstrating a political means of leveraging healthcare budgets. Ultimately, there has been the growth of market power within the healthcare system. According to Eckelman and Sherman, provider market power is a significant economic power that influences the growth of the healthcare system (11). During the last century, hospitals, physicians, and other healthcare service providers began consolidating services and resources. In this way, the modern health care sector is witnessing increased cases of health care service providers merging with other entities to have increased market power over insurers.
The purpose of measuring structure, process, and outcomes is to develop models for measuring the quality of healthcare services. The structural measures are essential in giving healthcare service consumers a general sense of a healthcare provider’s ability and capacity of systems to deliver high-quality care (Lyles, Schillinger, and Sarkar 3). The process involves examining whether the healthcare entities utilize electronic medical records to manage medical data. The process equally encompasses the examination of certified physicians within a healthcare facility, as well as the proportion of healthcare providers against patients. Consequently, the process aspect of quality care highlights efforts put in place by healthcare providers to maintain or improve the health of a patient. The process involves examining the number of people receiving preventive care services like immunization in the hospital. Finally, the outcome aspect of quality care measures examines the impacts that healthcare services or interventions have on the health status and well-being of a patient. The outcome process involves evaluating the number of people who have died as a result of surgery mistakes or hospital-acquired infections.
Technology improves health outcomes by reducing medical errors. Abdel-Latif acknowledges that prescription errors have been a major medical issue in the health care system leading to serious complications. Through, electronic prescribing, clinicians can promptly and accurately send prescriptions to the pharmacy. Additionally, technology improves patient outcomes by increasing the provision of patient-focused care. As such, technology enhances communication between medical professionals and patients through online portals, telephones, and email. The patients are more involved in their care courtesy of the technology that increases access to patients’ data, improves patient monitoring and service access convenience.
I can intervene by implementing and using nursing informatics to improve the quality of care and patient safety within the healthcare systems and bedside. Modern nursing practice is driven by a patient’s medical history and needs. These essential data can be collected and organized in electronic medical records to enhance the documentation process (Lyles, Schillinger, and Sarkar 5). By documenting accurate data, nurses are capable of managing care which by extension improves the quality of care offered to the patients within the health care system. In addition, through nursing informatics, I can be able to prevent hospital-acquired infections that may prolong a patient’s stay in the hospital bed. The use of electronic health records allows nurses to detect potential hospital-acquired infections or allergies within a hospital setting. Utilizing the data, a nurse can execute rapid decisions to keep patients safe from serious infection problems within a health care facility and by extension the health care system.
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
The federal agency is charged with the responsibility of improving the safety and quality of America’s health care system. Per AHRQ, the core responsibility of AHRQ is to design and develop knowledge tools and data required to improve the health care system (n.p.). Additionally, the AHRQ empowers health practitioners, and guide policymakers to execute informed decisions. AHRQ helps manage patients living with chronic diseases to maintain healthy behaviors and medical regimen throughout their lifetimes (AHRQ n.p.). For instance, AHRQ has leveraged the availability, popularity, and functionality of mobile phones to help support the management of chronic diseases in a medical organization and by extension the health care system. The patients are targeted through messaging systems on how to reduce risky behaviors and increase the overall well-being of patients.
AHRQ funds medical professionals and health care organizations to promote and build research capacities regarding the use of health information technology (IT) to improve the safety and quality of care. The use of web-based assessment tools is a notable example of programs funded by AHRQ to prevent early exposure to alcohol use. The web-based screening reduces alcohol consumption by more than 70 percent (AHRQ n.p). Health IT provides low-cost and effective tools essential in preventing prenatal alcohol consumption in a low-income population. AHRQ impacts my competent practice and the healthcare organization I work. The Re-engineered Discharge is a structured protocol that helps hospitals rework discharge practices to reduce readmissions by examining the patients’ needs and carefully formulating and communicating discharge plans. Hospitals using the tools have witnessed a 30-percent reduction in hospital readmissions and emergency department visits (AHRQ n.p.). Significantly, AHRQ has trained healthcare professionals in more than 1,500 individual health care organizations. The training program has imparted knowledge on patient safety, communication, and multidisciplinary collaborations essential to my professional practice.
Abdel-Latif, Mohamed. “Knowledge of Healthcare Professionals about Medication Errors in Hospitals.” Journal of Basic and Clinical Pharmacy, vol. 7, no. 3, 2016, 7-92. doi:10.4103/0976-0105.183264
AHRQ. “Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality: A Profile”. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, March 2018. https://www.ahrq.gov/cpi/about/profile/index.html. Accessed June 16, 2020.
Eckelman, Matthew, and Jodi, Sherman. “Environmental Impacts of the U.S. Health Care System and Effects on Public Health” Plos One, vol. 11, no. 6, 2016, 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0157014
Lyles, Courtney, Dean, Schillinger, and Urmimala, Sarkar. “Connecting the Dots: Health Information Technology Expansion and Health Disparities.” PLoS Medicine, vol. 12, no. 7, 2015, 1-5. doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001852