How the Future of Health Services Delivery Affects Policy

Instructor: Ann Kearney

Annie has a Doctorate in Health Education and Promotion. She has taught a variety of levels and has lectured at the University level in both the USA and the UK.

Health service delivery is the way that health is delivered to you and your community. A debated, changing topic, health service delivery affects policy in regards to what new delivery methods will be implemented.

Background on Health Services Delivery

Health service delivery (HSD) is how health is delivered to patients, families, communities and populations. It includes self care, home care, community care, primary care, long-term care and hospital care. HSD is constantly evolving, is very debatable and greatly impacts policy.

The goal of health service delivery to be culturally competent, financially accessible, welcoming of new technology, and to deliver to emergency situations effectively - think Hurricane Katrina.

Health Literacy in Health Service Delivery

Being informed is also an important part of healthcare. Health literacy is the idea that we all need to be able to obtain, interpret, and understand basic health information and services needed to make health decisions.

In general, populations and individuals with lower health literacy have higher medical costs and do not know what to do with their services. The future of health literacy involves health delivery methods that consider the patients culture, language, and delivery methods that effectively break down complex health topics across a diverse nation.

It's important therefore to find new ways to deliver health literacy - in the classroom, online, on the subway, at bus stops, etc.

MYPLATE is an example of health literacy for students that visually shows the healthiest balanced diet.

Delivery Affecting Policy

There are many examples of how health service delivery has affected policy. You have probably heard of some in the news.

Flint, Michigan

The water contamination that took place in Flint, Michigan is a perfect example of health service delivery affecting new policy. When a water shortage took place in Flint, the city turned to the Flint River while the city finished building a new pipeline into Lake Huron. Soon after, many low income citizens complained about the water.

Their complaints got swept under the rug for some time until the Environmental Protection Agency came in and conducted large studies that showed that there was a large amount of lead (a toxic metal) in the water due to bad piping and insufficient treatment.

This made national headlines, and there has been numerous policies implemented since that place regulations on clean water delivery.

School Lunches in the United States

Another example is school lunches. The obesity rate has skyrocketed in the U.S., specifically in children and adolescents. Across state and federal levels, schools have implemented different policies in regards to making school lunches healthier as well as cost-accessible.

Former first lady, Michelle Obama, is a huge advocate of healthy eating and President Obama passed laws that made schools have to deliver healthy and cost friendly school lunches. It also allowed for the chance to teach students about health eating patterns. Though this law no longer exists under Donald Trump.

Person-centered care involves you and your doctor having a collaborative relationship.
doctor, patient

Delivery Methods

There is some debate as to how to best deliver health. Here are a two ideas.

Competitive Markets

With a competitive market delivery services compete against one another, which some argue enables innovative, higher quality and lower cost delivery services. Critics argue that this model will promote profit making, so only those making the most money will get the best care, creating greater health inequalities as poorer populations will not be able to afford the care.

The U.S. health care system determines the kind of health delivery that we will be provided. Former President Obama wanted universal health coverage, the opposite of competitive markets. He created the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) so everyone in the United States would have equal health coverage, primarily covered by the state of residence.

It called for a number of different delivery system reforms intended to lower health care costs and improve quality. A major criticism of Obamacare is that the premiums on health insurance go up. President Trump has since introduced a new health care system, which calls for competitive and private health care.

This means that Americans can go outside of their state and buy health insurance. However, by making it private it means the rich will be able to afford the best health care while the poor do not.

Collaborative Markets

Collaborative markets looks at health service people and organizations working together to bolster physical and financial support, but also to ensure a substantial impact within the community.

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