Health Care in the World

A healthcare system is a network of institutions, individuals, and resources involved in the delivery of health care services within a geographical area. Thus, hospitals, clinics, community health centers, pharmaceutical companies, providers of health insurance, Ministries of health, organizations dealing with financing and management of resources, etc., are all a part of the health system.

According to the World Health Organization, a health system consists of all organizations, people, and actions whose primary intent is to promote, restore, or maintain health. This includes efforts to influence determinants of health as well as more direct health-improving activities. A health system is therefore more than the pyramid of publicly owned facilities that deliver personal health services. The following sections provide details from the Commonwealth Fund Survey 2014 and WHO 2000 report on health care.

Commonwealth Fund Survey 2014

Commonwealth Fund, a nonprofit organization that supports independent research on health and social issues, published a report in 2014. It assessed the standard of health care in eleven developed nations that included:

➠ United Kingdom
➠ Switzerland
➠ Sweden
➠ Australia
➠ Germany
➠ Netherlands
➠ New Zealand
➠ Norway
➠ France
➠ Canada
➠ United States of America

The report ranks each healthcare system on the basis of five categories:

➠ Quality
➠ Access
➠ Efficiency
➠ Equity
➠ Healthy Lives

Quality

The indicators of quality are grouped into four categories:

➠ Effective care
➠ Safe care
➠ Coordinated care
➠ Patient-centered care

In terms of quality care, the top three spots were bagged by the United Kingdom, Australia, and Switzerland. New Zealand ranked fourth, whereas the United States and Netherlands both held the fifth position. Germany, France, Canada, Sweden, and Norway held the seventh, eighth, ninth, tenth, and eleventh rank, respectively.

Effective Care

Effective care is an indicator of quality, which is determined by finding out if the services are effective and appropriate for the prevention and treatment of a given condition, as well as controlling chronic illness. For instance, sending reminders to patients who are due or overdue for tests or follow-up visits, and discussion of lifestyle-related issues can help in the prevention of diseases. An effective healthcare system can also be determined by the level of care provided to those with chronic illnesses. The following list provides the rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of effective care:

➠ United Kingdom
➠ New Zealand
➠ United States of America
➠ Australia
➠ Netherlands
➠ Germany
➠ Canada
➠ Switzerland
➠ France
➠ Sweden
➠ Norway

Safe Care

Safe care implies avoiding medical errors or injuries to patients from the care that is intended to help them. Thus, precautions must be taken to prevent sicker patients from contracting an infection during a hospital stay or shortly after. The following list provides the rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of safe care:

➠ United Kingdom
➠ France
➠ Australia
➠ Switzerland
➠ Sweden
➠ Germany
➠ Netherlands and United States of America
➠ New Zealand
➠ Canada
➠ Norway

Coordinated Care

Lack of coordinated care could have an adverse effect on the delivery of effective care, thereby raising the costs of treatment. There’s a need for proper communication among patients, physicians, and hospitals. For instance, providing a written plan on aftercare measures after discharge can certainly prove beneficial. The following list provides the rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of coordinated care:

➠ United Kingdom
➠ New Zealand
➠ Switzerland
➠ Australia
➠ Netherlands
➠ United States of America
➠ Norway
➠ Canada
➠ France
➠ Germany
➠ Sweden

Patient-centeredness

Countries fared better in this category when there was proper communication between the patient and healthcare provider. The patient is more likely to continue seeking medical assistance from the same healthcare provider when care is provided while keeping the needs and preferences of the patient in mind. This is most likely to happen when the healthcare provider gives clear instructions, explains all the options to the patients, and encourages them to ask questions. The following list provides the rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of patient-centered care:

➠ United Kingdom
➠ Switzerland
➠ Netherlands
➠ United States of America
➠ Australia
➠ New Zealand
➠ Germany
➠ Canada
➠ Sweden
➠ France
➠ Norway

Access

Health systems were also ranked on the basis of access to care. In a good healthcare system, patients are able to obtain affordable care and receive medical attention on time. On the other hand, countries where patients did not get the needed medical attention due to the inability to pay medical bills got a lower rank.

The following list provides the overall rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of access

➠ United Kingdom
➠ Switzerland and Germany
➠ Netherlands and Sweden
➠ Norway
➠ New Zealand
➠ Australia
➠ Canada and the United States of America
➠ France

Access is further divided into cost-related problem and timeliness of care.

Cost-related Problem

The following list provides the rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of cost-related problem:

➠ United Kingdom and Sweden
➠ Norway
➠ Germany
➠ Canada
➠ New Zealand
➠ Switzerland
➠ Netherlands
➠ Australia
➠ France
➠ United States of America

Timeliness of Care

In countries with a good healthcare system, patients have rapid access to basic medical care and non-emergency surgery. The following list provides the rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of timeliness of care

➠ Switzerland
➠ Netherlands
➠ United Kingdom
➠ Germany
➠ United States of America
➠ Australia
➠ New Zealand
➠ Norway
➠ Sweden
➠ France
➠ Canada

Efficiency

The quality of care should be maximized in terms of the resources. The resources should be well-spent. Avoidance of administrative hassles and insurance-related issues, timely access to records, etc., can help maximize efficiency. The following list provides the rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of efficiency

➠ United Kingdom
➠ Sweden
➠ New Zealand
➠ Norway and Australia
➠ Switzerland
➠ Netherlands
➠ France
➠ Germany
➠ Canada
➠ United States of America

Equity

Equity refers to delivery of good care to all, irrespective of location, socioeconomic status, gender, or ethnicity. Countries where patients with low income go without the needed care due to costs got a lower rank. The following list provides the rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of equity

➠ Sweden
➠ Switzerland and the United Kingdom
➠ Germany
➠ Australia
➠ Norway
➠ France
➠ Netherlands
➠ Canada
➠ New Zealand
➠ United States of America

Healthy Lives

In this category, countries were ranked on the basis of the mortality rates amenable to health care, infant mortality rate, and healthy life expectancy above the age of 60 years. The following list provides the rankings (best to the worst) of these eleven countries in terms of healthy lives:

➠ France
➠ Sweden
➠ Switzerland
➠ Australia
➠ Netherlands
➠ Norway
➠ Germany
➠ Canada
➠ New Zealand
➠ United Kingdom
➠ United States

The rankings or the scorecard in the Commonwealth Fund is based on the information from the WHO 2000 report on health care, patients’ and physicians’ survey results on care experiences and ratings on various dimensions of care, data from the recent Commonwealth Fund international surveys, etc.

WHO’s Rankings on Health Care (2000)

In 2000, the World Health Organization ranked the nations on the basis of the level of health care provided to the citizens in their respective countries. However, WHO doesn’t release such rankings anymore, as this is a very complicated process. The rankings are based on the data released in 2000 by WHO.

1. France2. Italy3. San Marino4. Andorra5. Malta6. Singapore7. Spain8. Oman9. Austria10. Japan11. Norway12. Portugal13. Monaco14. Greece15. Iceland16. Luxembourg17. Netherlands18. United Kingdom19. Ireland20. Switzerland21. Belgium22. Colombia23. Sweden24. Cyprus25. Germany26. Saudi Arabia27. United Arab Emirates28. Israel29. Morocco30. Canada31. Finland32. Australia33. Chile34. Denmark35. Dominica36. Costa Rica37. USA38. Slovenia39. Cuba40. Brunei41. New Zealand42. Bahrain43. Croatia44. Qatar45. Kuwait46. Barbados47. Thailand48. Czech Republic49. Malaysia50. Poland51. Dominican Republic52. Tunisia53. Jamaica54. Venezuela55. Albania56. Seychelles57. Paraguay58. South Korea59. Senegal60. Philippines61. Mexico62. Slovakia63. Egypt64. Kazakhstan65. Uruguay66. Hungary67. Trinidad and Tobago68. Saint Lucia69. Belize70. Turkey71. Nicaragua72. Belarus73. Lithuania74. Saint Vincent75. Argentina76. Sri Lanka77. Estonia78. Guatemala79. Ukraine80. Solomon Islands81. Algeria82. Palau83. Jordan84. Mauritius85. Grenada86. Antigua and Barbuda87. Libya88. Bangladesh89. Macedonia90. Bosnia and Herzegovina91. Lebanon92. Indonesia93. Iran94. Bahamas95. Panama96. Fiji97. Benin98. Nauru99. Romania100. St. Kitts & Nevis101. Moldova102. Bulgaria103. Iraq104. Armenia105. Latvia106. Yugoslavia107. Cook Islands108. Syria109. Azerbaijan110. Suriname111. Ecuador112. India113. Cape Verde114. Georgia115. El Salvador116. Tonga117. Uzbekistan118. Comoros119. Samoa120. Yemen121. Niue122. Pakistan123. Micronesia124. Bhutan125. Brazil126. Bolivia127. Vanuatu128. Guyana129. Peru130. Russia131. Honduras132. Burkina Faso133. São Tomé134. Sudan135. Ghana136. Tuvalu137. Ivory Coast138. Haiti139. Gabon140. Kenya141. Marshall Islands142. Kiribati143. Burundi144. China145. Mongolia146. Gambia147. Maldives148. Papua New Guinea149. Uganda150. Nepal151. Kyrgyzstan152. Togo153. Turkmenistan154. Tajikistan155. Zimbabwe156. Tanzania157. Djibouti158. Eritrea159. Madagascar160. Vietnam161. Guinea162. Mauritania163. Mali164. Cameroon165. Laos166. Congo167. North Korea168. Namibia169. Botswana170. Niger171. Equatorial Guinea172. Rwanda173. Afghanistan174. Cambodia175. South Africa176. Guinea-Bissau177. Swaziland178. Chad179. Somalia180. Ethiopia181. Angola182. Zambia183. Lesotho184. Mozambique185. Malawi186. Liberia187. Nigeria188. Republic of Congo189. Central African Republic190. Myanmar

On a concluding note, the top ranking of the United Kingdom in the Commonwealth Fund Report 2014 might be attributed to the fact that there are no direct costs to patients, as health care is administered universally by the National Health Service (NHS). While most patients receive information for follow-up appointments in United Kingdom, Switzerland is known for providing care, irrespective of class or income. Also, the needs and preferences of the patients is given importance in Switzerland. Sweden scored well in efficiency and healthy lives categories. Australia has a universal healthcare system, and it is known for its efficiency in providing care to chronically ill patients. Though Germany provides universal health coverage, it needs to catch up with the leaders in health care. Surprisingly, the United States of America finds itself at the bottom of the list in the overall ranking, as well as the categories such as access (cost-related problem), equity, efficiency, and healthy lives.

Health Care Important

A society is formed by different strata containing people of low, moderate and high income groups. Their needs vary and not everyone is in a position to afford the best health care services. In such circumstances, there is a sheer dearth of proper treatment due to unavailability of sufficient funds. This further leads to high mortality rate in a country. Therefore, it’s the responsibility of the government to improve health care services and ensure that everyone receives adequate treatment and is capable of completely enjoying the privileges granted to them. Primary Health Care (PHC) is a holistic health care system wherein every individual of a country can access medical facilities irrespective of his/her financial status and ethnicity.

The principles and policies of primary health care were identified in the Alma Ata Declaration (1978), which strongly recommended ‘a sustained plan that would be an integral part of the health system prevailing in a country’. The principles laid down by the act were implied to almost all the nations of the world. Furthermore, a proper coordination with other sectors (agriculture, education, public work sectors, communication, rural development, etc.) was also required in order to meet its objectives.

The World Health Organization has also contributed to achieving the goals of primary health care. It has emphasized five elements essential for its comprehensive establishment. We shall define them in the following list.
Increasing stakeholder participation
Integrating health into all sectors (public policy reforms)
Pursuing collaborative models of policy dialog (leadership reforms)
Reducing exclusion and social disparities in health (universal coverage reforms)
Organizing health services around people’s needs and expectations (service delivery reforms)
Importance of Primary Health Care

So how can primary health care bring about a change in the existing health care system? How significant is it for a country? Do people actually benefit from it? Does it use the latest technologies for treatment? How is it connected to other sectors of an economy? Let’s find out the answers.

Treatment is Open to All
The main objective of PHC is, treatment based not on the income of an individual but on his/her needs. Anyone can visit PHC setups and get the necessary treatment done. This is because, the primary objective of such organizations is equal distribution of health care regardless of age, gender, caste, color, and religion of an individual. Patients who have insurance policies are assured medical assistance. There are services for aged and differently abled people, rehab programs for drug and alcohol addicts, treatment for mental patients, family planning, child health care, and special care for women. Services are also extended to rural and remote areas. Patients are satisfied completely because they receive hassle free treatment. The nature of service provided by health care organizations is socially acclaimed due to all these privileges.

Use of Proper Technology
Latest technologies used in the field of medicine have been incorporated in primary health care setups for the benefit of patients. This is done to meet the expectations of people and to keep their standard on par with residential hospitals. Such developmental strategies are also essential for treatment of complex health disorders. Cost, feasibility, and accessibility are some important factors that are taken into consideration before introducing a new medical technology. The diagnostic techniques practiced by doctors and the new technology are established only when they are accepted by the community. Apart from technology, medical counseling, nursing, postoperative care, immunization, medicines, nutrition, and ambulance are also provided to patients. All these facilities have led to improvement of treatment, quick access to doctors, and betterment of health of patients. In short, it is a patient-centered care unit.

Option for Voluntary Service
As the main motive of primary health care units is to improve the health of people, it enrolls people interested in voluntary service. The more the number of people working, the better is the service provided. The reason being, there will be ample caretakers, compounders, nurses, and other types of staff to monitor patients. Volunteers are also recruited for local disease control and offering first-contact services (like general physicians, assistants, anesthetists, etc.). There is provision for training programs to make them skilled in handling machines. The option of voluntary service also provides opportunities to people who are keen to work in healthcare sectors. With the establishment of such services, jobs in health care have also experienced a major boost.

Encourage Participation of Other Sectors
As health care sectors work for all-round improvement of the society, it encourages participation of other sectors. This multisectional approach entails the involvement of communication industry, agricultural sector and public works. Now you might be wondering how participation of these sectors can boost the growth of primary health care units. For instance, PHC organizations depend on the agricultural sector for food supply while public works like sanitation, water supply, etc., ensure that these amenities reach the people. They also work in conjunction with local governments, municipalities, and non-profit organizations in order to bring about a remarkable change in rural areas. Such policies adopted by the organizations are vital for making a community self-reliant.

The fact that primary health care is absolutely a people-centric organization, you can draw an inference that the quality of service provided would definitely upgrade the well-being of an individual. However, the facilities and privileges offered to people differ from one country to another and the nature of health care services are determined by the government. Regardless of this fact, the importance of primary health care is immense and would always be beneficial for the society and its people.

Hospital Administration

Management is a field that is absolutely essential in every industry; be it in business, health care, or commercial. Since the health care is a vast field, proper management and administration is quite complicated. To fill this requirement, there are personnel recruited who are referred to as hospital administrators. These administration experts are also known as medical and health services managers or medical office managers. These are generally employed by big hospitals or small medical settings for administrative purposes.

Job Description

The primary role of a hospital administrator is to make sure that the quality and service of the medical facility is satisfactory. A point to note is that the duties of these professionals majorly depend on how big the medical facility is. In a big hospital, there would generally be a hospital administrator managing the work of several assistant administrators assigned to different areas of work. The areas worked on are nursing, operation, therapy, medical records, and administration. On the other hand, in a small facility, there will be just one hospital administrator who takes care of all areas of patient care and services rendered.

A hospital administrator acts as a liaison between the top management, department managers, and medical staff, and coordinate will all these entities to ensure smooth operations. He has to meet with the top management officials to devise, implement, and manage policies for utmost patient care and best services from the facility. Sometimes, they also participate in budget planning of the clinical facility. The job description also includes carrying out events and camps like fundraising and community health planning.

Since large medical facilities run round the clock, hospital administrators are required to work irregular hours and late nights in case of emergencies. As this job is concerned with administration and overall management, these specialists are required to be familiar with the changing laws and regulations, advances in health care technology and medicine, health insurance, and other aspects. They are the first point of contact in case of any issue from the public.

Becoming a Hospital Administrator

When it comes to working as a hospital administrator, both education and experience are valued alike. Those thinking of entering this area should typically have a bachelor’s degree in business administration, health sciences, or health services. With this degree, you can set out your career as an administrative assistant in a health care setting. After working for around five years in this position, you can move forward to a career as a hospital administrator. You can have better job and earning prospects if you hold a master’s in the above mentioned subjects.

Salary Range

Classification by Years of Experience
0 to 1 Year: $43,000 – $69,000
1 to 4 years: $50,000 – $85,500
5 to 9 years: $59,000 – $102,500
10 to 19 years: $75,200 – $125,000
20 or more years: $86,500 – $154,500

Classification by State
Virginia: $62,500 – $117,000
Illinois: $71,000 – $131,000
New York: $59,000 – $103,500
California: $64,000 – $129,000
Pennsylvania: $59,000 – $102,000

Classification by City
New York City: $62,500 – $132,250
Los Angeles: $70,000 – $139,000
Dallas: $45,000 – $81,500
Chicago: $69,000 – $131,000
Atlanta: $42,500 – $92,500

Hospital administration jobs are not for everyone. In order to be successful in these jobs, a person should be good with time management, decision-making, administration and management, communication, and be physically and mentally stable. The median pay of a hospital administrator is considered to be around $60,000 per annum.

Quit Smoking While Pregnant

  • It is no secret that smoking is a very harmful and bad addiction. In fact, it’s absolutely correct to say that ‘smoking kills’. And once you are into smoking, it becomes even more difficult to quit. Smoking is a hazardous addiction which can lead to serious health ailments like cancer, lung and heart diseases, problems with circulation, skin and eyes problems, etc. In extreme cases it can even cause death. Smoking in fact lowers your lifespan. And in pregnancy, it doubles the effects as the child also becomes the victim. A woman should literally not dare to touch a cigarette once she knows about her pregnancy, as it affects the baby’s health, and in severe cases, it can lead to miscarriages, abortions, premature delivery, and low birth weight.

    Hazardous Effects of Smoking During Pregnancy

    A single cigarette contains thousands of harmful chemicals and compounds, like cyanide, lead, nicotine and carbon monoxide. When you smoke, the chemicals enter your body and indirectly enters the baby’s body through the blood stream. Nicotine and carbon monoxide narrow down the arteries and this results in lowered oxygen supply to the baby. Babies born to pregnant smokers are more prone to severe health conditions like sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), asthma and lung disorders. Smoking also affects the baby’s brain and can lead to learning disabilities and behavioral problems in future. Smoking a pack of cigarettes daily can lower the baby’s weight by about a pound, and low body weight in a baby means stunted growth in the future too. The harmful effects of smoking in pregnant woman include vaginal bleeding and delivery problems, which includes ectopic pregnancy, which is a kind of abnormal pregnancy in which the fetus (baby) cannot survive and a still birth takes place, in which the baby dies in the uterus itself.

    Quitting Smoking When Pregnant

    After reading the harmful effects of cigarette smoking, anyone would expect the person to quit cigarettes automatically. But this thing never happens. Smoking is such an addiction that one tends to ignore the body health and the cigarette becomes dearer than the health. This is a real challenge. Following are some of the ways and tips to motivate and quit smoking specially when you are pregnant.

  • Visualize the Baby- Think of your baby when you get an impulse to smoke. Pregnancy is one of the best phases of a woman’s life and every woman dreams of giving birth to a healthy baby. As seen in the earlier paragraph, smoking is so hazardous for your baby’s health, so stop smoking at least for your baby’s sake.
  • Go Cold Turkey- Another method is giving up smoking completely at one go. This is often referred as the cold turkey method. This method can be tough for some as it involves giving up cigarettes completely. In this method, you are supposed to throw away all your cigarette packs, ashtrays and lighters. This technique demands strong willpower, and if you are a heavy smoker you could experience some withdrawal symptoms like depression and stress.
  • Stay Happy- Pregnancy is a happy phase and you should enjoy this phase, so don’t let any kind of stress bother you as stress is an open invitation to a cigarette and other health ailments.
  • Manage Your Surroundings- It’s always better to announce your plans to quit smoking to all your friends and acquaintances, because it’s like a commitment. You should feel free to ask them to not to smoke when you are around as you might get an urge to smoke. Passive smoking is also very harmful.
  • Don’t Give Up- Even if you experience symptoms like depression and cannot control that craving for a cigar, don’t give up. Instead engage yourself in some other activity, so that your mind is diverted.
  • Train Your Mind- The mind is an amazing machine, with immense power. Fix it in your mind that you wouldn’t give in to the cigarette urge, your mind has powers to help you control the craving.
  • Prepare a Notebook- Jot down in a notebook all the reasons on why you have to stop smoking. Also write the harmful effects of smoking in this notebook. If you get an urge to smoke, go through this notebook, your interest would automatically diminish.
  • Enjoy the Benefits of a Healthy Life- Your decision to quit smoking means, you have chosen to live a healthy life. Be positive about your decision and enjoy the new lifestyle. You can also join a good pregnancy class where you would find like-minded friends. Deep breathing exercises are also very good for relieving stress and makes one strong.
  • Be Strong- Don’t let cigarettes become your weakness. You should be strong enough to live without any addiction. It will also give you a feeling of satisfaction that you can live life without the puff.
  • Use Nicotine Alternatives- This one is the least recommended tip, but you can go for it in extreme cases. Giving up smoking can be a tough task, especially if you are into this habit for years. But now the demand of time is that you quit it completely and immediately. If on some occasion, the urge is very strong, you can indulge in some nicotine replacements like a nicotine chewing gum. But remember that you should have the replacements only if the urge is very strong.

Ladies, think about the happiness the ‘little bundle of joy’ would give you once he/she arrives, and use this joy as a tool to repel that dangerous stick, called cigarette.