There are a number of aspects of our health care system to take into consideration when forming opinions of it as a whole. One of the main differences I see at the hospital I am employed at is the type of patient population and how their outlook on health care is based on their attitude about being hospitalized. For example, a 52 year old patient is hospitalized for a lobectomy to remove adenocarcinoma from their lung. The patient is truly thankful and appreciative of the care she is receiving and the health care system because she feels lucky about her early diagnosis. In the next room, there is a 78 year old man that has been hospitalized for fluid overload 3 times in 2 months secondary to a congestive heart failure exacerbation due to non-compliance with a fluid and sodium restriction. This man is upset at health care in general because he doesn’t want to continue to be hospitalized.
When looking at the article by Klein (2007), there are many aspects of the health care field that make it a struggle for every patient to be pleased. The first problem reported has to do with finance. In the United States, we spend the most amount than any other country (per person at a whopping $6,697 per year) (Klein, 2007). Next closest was Canada at $3,326. Spending twice as much as the next country goes to show that a major problem in health care is the total spending amount.
Another problem with health care that is listed in the article by Klein (2007) is that we are one of the only countries that does not pay their physicians based on the quality of care they give. In the United States, we score the lowest at 30% for “primary care practices with financial incentives for quality”. From working in acute care, I have heard on numerous ocassions how angry patients are with their primary care providers based on bedside manner or supposed missed diagnoses. Patients may become more pleased with the delivery of health care if their physician was recognized for providing the best care possible. However, physicians should go in to the medical field with the drive to help people. Personally, I feel that doctors should treat all patients the same, regardless of their diagnosis or attitudes. As nurses, we are expected to treat everyone the same without any quality incentives. Why does there need to be a pay increase with patient satisfaction when we are taught to care for all patients as equals?
Another issue in health care is the increasing amount of chronic conditions in the United States. Unfortunately the rising numbers of chronic conditions are responsible for 2/3 of the spending rise over the past few decades (Klein, 2007).
According to Klein (2007), Americans and residents from other countries were asked to express how satisfied people were with the current health care system. Although Americans are paying more than any country for their health care, they have the lowest satisfaction of all.