Dental Hygienist Salary

These days, the number of people suffering from oral problems is increasing at a rapid pace and hence, the job of a dental hygienist has become one of the most in-demand medical jobs. Though the cost of education for becoming a dental hygienist is high in some universities, the salary for those who have the requisite talents and skills is quite high, which makes it possible to recover educational expenses in a few years.

Salary Details

A dental hygienist’s salary depends largely on the education, years of experience, and their location of work. As per salary surveys conducted by experts, the average salary is believed to be around USD 51,000 per year. In some places, they can also practice as independent medical professionals as per the new laws passed. On an hourly basis, those whose income falls in the ‘lowest’ range, are known to earn around USD 20.5 per hour. On the other hand, the highest paid ones are known to earn more than USD 43 per hour. On an annual basis, it is not difficult for them to earn more than USD 100,000 per year, after gaining quality experience of at least eight years. Salary for those with less than two years of experience is around USD 40,000 per year. With around five to seven years of experience, this can go up to USD 68,000 per year.

The states of Washington, California, and Nevada are known to pay the best packages to dental hygienists. The salary for professionals working in Washington and California is more than USD 90,000 per year. While dental hygienists in Alaska earn around USD 75,670 per year, salaries of those employed in Michigan can be around USD 59,520 per year.
* Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

The ones employed in hospitals, can expect to earn around USD 55,670 per year while those working in offices of dentists can earn USD 67,220 per year.
* Salary Voice

Job Description

The job of a dental hygienist includes important tasks such as teaching good dental habits to the patients, cleaning teeth properly, and maintaining them. They teach the right ways of brushing teeth and also make patients understand the importance of regular dental check-ups. They also give patients some useful tips regarding what diet to follow and also tell them why there is a need to give up addictions such as smoking and chewing tobacco. They assist the dentists in diagnosing and treating medical problems of the teeth, gums, and the mouth. By assisting dentists, they gain on-the-job experience, which is very useful for their future career growth. They also provide general dental care facilities and diagnose serious illnesses such as oral cancer. Taking X-rays of teeth, polishing fillings, prescribing suitable medicines to the patients, applying sealants and fluorides to the teeth for making them strong, and keeping a medical record of the health history of patients, are some of the other tasks that they do.

The salary of dental hygienists has shown a growing trend since the last few years and the same trend is expected to continue as per the opinions of job market experts. You should be prepared for hard work and have a lot of patience, as gaining a respectable position in the field of medicine is not easy.

Sore Tip of Tongue

unduhan (1)It can be really frustrating if one experiences soreness and pain in the tongue tip. Due to this a person may have difficulty in tasting, swallowing and masticating food. A healthy tongue is pink in color and the papillae are very small. However, when the tongue becomes sore, there is tongue discoloration, i.e. it can become red or white and there might also be some bumps on its surface. Many doctors rely on the appearance of the tongue to diagnose a health problem that a person may be suffering from. It results from a variety of reasons and underlying conditions, some of which are mentioned below.

Causes

Lack of Nutrition
One of the most common causes is having a diet that lacks in essential nutrients required to keep the body healthy. If the body lacks certain vitamins or minerals, especially vitamin B6, iron or niacin, the condition may present itself in the form of a sore tongue.

Injury to the Tongue
It may be due to some kind of external injury to the tongue. This usually happens if a person has accidentally bitten his tongue while eating or talking, or has eaten something very hot or cold, resulting in the papillae becoming inflamed, thus causing a sore and painful tongue tip.

Rubbing Against Teeth
The tip of tongue may become red and sore if the tongue is constantly rubbing against the teeth. This usually happens when the teeth are irregular or there is accumulation of plaque behind the teeth. Sometimes, kissing someone passionately can result in the tongue getting rubbed against someone else’s teeth, resulting in a sore tongue tip!

Dental Problems
Ill-fitting dentures, dental plaque or lack of good oral hygiene can be the other reasons.

Atrophic Glossitis
This condition occurs in the elderly. When a person who suffers from this condition eats sharp-tasting foods, he experiences a burning sensation on the tip of his tongue. The appearance of the tongue tip changes too. It becomes red in color and somewhat beefy.

Acidic Food
If it is accompanied by small red-colored bumps, the reason could be intake of food which are spicy and acidic in nature.

Infection
It could be due to an infection such as oral thrush caused by bacteria, viruses or yeast. An infection in the mouth not only causes soreness but produces a burning sensation on the tongue as well. In most of the cases of mouth infection, it is seen that people who have a compromised immune system, are more prone to getting this infection than others.

Mouth Sores
Mouth sores, also known as canker sores, can develop due to a number of reasons such as lack of nutrition, eating acidic food, underlying inflammatory diseases, dental problems, etc. If a person has canker sores, the tip of his tongue can become swollen and sore. Sometimes, more than one canker sore can develop, producing symptoms such as fever, fatigue, inflammation of the lymph nodes and extreme pain in the entire mouth.

Remedies

The treatment for this condition depends upon the cause and the severity of the symptoms. Given below are some of the common remedies to get relief from the pain and soreness in your tongue tip.
Eat a balanced diet comprising essential nutrients if a sore tongue is due to lack of proper nutrition.
Refrain from eating acidic foods.
Maintain proper oral hygiene.
Increase daily intake of water.
A red sore tongue, in most cases, is not a serious condition and usually resolves on its own, within one or two weeks. However, if it doesn’t resolve and appears again, seek the advice of your doctor.

Dental Care Kids

Tooth decay and painful cavities are commonly seen amongst kids. Most of the preschoolers get their milk teeth filled with dental cement to close cavities and prevent further decay. The lack of awareness about oral hygiene is the primary reason for deteriorating oral health and the rising cost of dental bills. Laying down strict rules about dental care for your kids will go a long way in ensuring stronger teeth and gums in the future. Proper brushing, regular flossing and timely visits to the dentist are all that it takes to maintain your oral health.

Dental Care Tips and Tricks for Kids

Right Toothbrush
For as long as possible, stick to using baby toothbrush. It is extremely soft on the gums and focuses on small areas, thus cleaning them properly. A baby toothbrush protects tender gums, massages them and its easygoing bristles seem encouraging. Additionally, the cartoon characters and the fancy accessories that come along with the toothbrush will keep your child engaged in the activity for a while.

Brushing
Explaining the importance of brushing teeth is one way of coaxing your child into good oral habits. Narrating fictional stories about tooth decay, role play and giving an incentive for proper brushing are a few more tips, which would promise to get your child into a regular and a proper brushing regime. It is crucial that your child learns to brush slowly and in circular motions. Brushing vigorously can lead to receding gums and weak teeth over a period of time.

Tasty Toothpaste
The first thing kids do when they learn to brush their teeth is taste the toothpaste. Some toothpastes may seem a little spicy, while a few may seem extremely powdery. Don’t let the taste of the toothpaste be a deterrent for brushing teeth. There is a range of toothpastes for kids available at most of the supermarkets. Go toothpaste shopping with your child and let him/her pick his/her favorite flavors. Ice cream, chocolate and bubble gum are some of the favorite flavors amongst kids. A tasty toothpaste is an excellent motivating tool to make your child follow important oral care habits.

Fuss Over Flossing
The habit of regular flossing is the most difficult one to get into. Children not only take time to learn the technique, but also often complain about floss hurting the gums. Child-friendly floss meant for tender gums and small teeth is easy to use and does not hurt the gums. Till your child turns 9, you will have to supervise flossing. Mindless flossing races with your child to see who finishes flossing first, is a great motivational tip. Timely visits to the dentist will help you understand whether your child is regularly flossing or shamming the task.

Prevention is always better than cure. Taking precautionary measures such as brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing every day, rinsing your mouth after every meal, using a mouthwash and avoiding excess of sugar are few more preventive dental care tips for children. These tips will definitely help your child understand the importance of maintaining oral hygiene. Learning the necessity of maintaining healthy teeth at a young age, can reap huge benefits in the future.

Temporary Dental Crown

You certainly don’t want your temporary dental crown to come off a few days after fitting it. Well, it might happen, if you don’t exercise caution when it comes to eating the right foods or maintaining oral hygiene. Following are the precautions that you need to follow to prevent your temporary dental crown from falling off.

✦ Avoid Hard, Crunchy Foods
When fitted with a temporary dental crown, you cannot eat whatever you want. To be specific, you need to exclude hard foods from the diet. This will ensure that the temporary dental crown doesn’t come off or becomes loose. Crowns tend to break or chip on chewing crunchy, hard foods such as crackers, cookies, raw carrots, potato chips, pizza crust, hard candy, bagels, pretzels, ice, nuts, and celery. So, biting on hard foods is a strict no-no when wearing a temporary dental crown.

✦ Discard Sticky Foods
Sticky foods can also be detrimental to your temporary dental crown as they can dislodge the restoration. The stickiness in these foods may loosen the crown, and eventually it may fall off. Thus, you run the risk of pulling down the temporary crown by eating sticky foods like chewing gum and chocolates.

✦ Avoid Clenching or Grinding Teeth
Grinding or clenching teeth too can destabilize the dental crown. The pressure exerted due to teeth grinding is high enough to break the dental crown. Severe cases of bruxism are known to fracture dental crowns and fillings. So, try to quit this habit of gnashing your teeth.

✦ Brush Gently
Although brushing is important, make sure you do not exert excessive pressure on the dental crown. You need to brush with soft hands to gently clear the area surrounding the dental crown. Putting excessive pressure while brushing can definitely unseat the dental restorative material. Your dentist may also suggest a specially designed brush for maintaining oral hygiene.

✦ Modify Flossing Technique
You need to alter the way you floss to keep the dental crown intact. So, when flossing, make sure you move the thread in between the teeth only. Do not move the thread up and put excessive pressure on the tooth while flossing. You can consult your dentist to know about this special flossing technique.

✦ Ditch Nail Biting
If you don’t stop chewing your nails, the dental crown is sure to fall off sooner than later. Also, we often tend to open plastic packets by tearing them apart using the teeth. This habit too can unseat the dental crown, hence should be avoided.

Keep in mind that the temporary dental crown is not as sturdy or durable as permanent dental crown. Its main purpose is to prevent any damage to the affected tooth until the permanent crown is made for placement.

On the whole, if you want to protect your crown from falling off, follow the aforementioned tips and rest assured, the temporary restorative material will remain till the required time.

Services in Healthcare

Origin of the Word
The word ‘ancillary’ comes from the Latin word, ancilla, that means maidservant.
Many doctors do not offer diagnostic tests or procedures in their clinics. They refer their patients to a facility where professionals skilled in the respective field conduct these tests or procedures, the results of which are provided to the doctors. The services that these facilities provide are called ancillary services. They are supplemental healthcare services provided by professionals other than doctors and surgeons. These service providers are an important part of the healthcare sector.

The different types of ancillary services include diagnostic, therapeutic, and custodial. Ancillary services can be provided in a medical office, an ambulatory service center, a freestanding diagnostic center, or a hospital. In a hospital, ancillary services can be provided in its different departments. These services can be provided in a private office outside the hospital if the professional has all the equipment and machines available. Ancillary services can also be provided in a freestanding facility like a laboratory or therapy clinic. The in-office ancillary services have led to faster diagnosis and treatment of patients, helped improve skillfulness in healthcare, and urged patients to act in accordance with their healthcare provider’s treatment recommendations.

There are rules for ancillary service providers in many places. They cover the skilled personnel performing the service, the equipment which is used, and the services that are required. Ancillary service providers are bound by the same rules and regulations as the primary providers. They must be able to maintain a satisfactory service performance according to the ARRA of 2009 or face severe punishments for the same. Described below are the various types of ancillary services in healthcare.
Diagnostic Services
Diagnostic ancillary services bring about timely, cost-efficient, and high-quality care. These services include x-ray services, ultrasounds, Doppler testing, clinical lab services, audiology, vision repair solutions, chiropractic services, dental services, radiology, radiation oncology, pulmonary testing services, and others.

A diagnostic service can be carried out only when the doctor has told the patient that he or she needs a specific test to be done. It is provided to help a physician know about a patient’s medical condition or health.

Diagnostic services are also useful when the patient is following up with the provider regularly for the particular medical condition to know how the treatment is going, based on the reports of the previous visits. For example, if a diabetic patient is making a follow-up visit, he will know how the medicines are working, based on the previous reports.
Therapeutic Services
Under the therapeutic ancillary services, services such as speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, psychotherapy, cardiac rehabilitation services, transportation services, cosmetic services, nutrition education, and others are included.

A speech therapy is given to a patient with communication and swallowing disorders. The therapy improves the patient’s understanding and expression of language. The services provided by the therapist must be suggested by a physician and agreed by the insurance company.

Occupational therapy is a treatment given to develop, maintain, and normalize the daily activities of an individual. These therapists develop a plan of treatment to improve independence in everyday activities. They may recommend special equipment that would help the patient gain independence. Occupational therapists usually function with experts in physical therapy, speech therapy, nursing, social work, and the community. These therapists start with the treatment after referring a physician and making sure that the insurance company has accepted it.

Professionals involved in physical therapy help improve mobility and treat injuries of patients. Injuries may include those of the knee, shoulder, or back. A physician has to suggest physical therapy to the patient and the insurance must agree with the service.

Psychotherapists are professionals who identify and resolve troubled thoughts, feelings, and behavior concerns of a patient to improve his well-being, and so that the patient can function well. This therapy is used to treat depression, anxiety, phobias, and abuse.

Cardiac rehabilitation services or cardiac rehab programs are those which help patients to recover from heart attacks, heart surgery, and others. These programs provide education and counseling services to improve the physical fitness of patients and reduce the risk of heart problems. They can be given only when a cardiologist tells a patient that he needs a session on cardiac rehabilitation and when the insurance company agrees with the service.

Cosmetic services involve surgeries which change the appearance of a person. They include facials, botox treatments, skin care advice, and others.

Transportation services are provided by hospitals to carry the patient from one hospital to another. They may also provide patients with transportation to their home or elsewhere.

In a hospital, a dietary assistant provides a menu to each patient from which one can select meals. Dietary education is given to people so that they receive proper nutrition. These assistants work with the medical staff to make sure that the patient’s nutritional needs are met on a daily basis, depending on his or her medical condition.
Custodial Services
Custodial services involve the care and support to a patient who is unable to perform daily work without external help. This non-medical care helps the patient to carry out activities such as bathing, eating, dressing, and others.

Custodial ancillary services focus on living accommodations, home health, or nursing home care.

Nursing homes that provide custodial care are also an example of ancillary services. Custodial care providers do not need specialized training.
Growth in the Sector
Ancillary services are growing very fast because they are cost-effective and the providers are delivering high-quality services. Moreover, they are a crucial part of healthcare. These services can be provided at a lower cost and they let the doctors access the information they require to diagnose and treat a patient’s health condition. Using ancillary services to provide more help to patients is a growing trend among physicians. According to Medscape’s 2013 Physician Compensation Report, physicians are thinking of ways to create greater revenue by introducing ancillary services to organizations.
The ancillary service sector is one of the fastest developing sectors of healthcare. It is a very important segment of the healthcare delivery system. With the expensive treatment procedures and medicine costs on the rise, ancillary service providers are a cost-saving alternative to outpatient hospital and physician services.

Pros and Cons of Health Care Reform

Good health care facilities are a necessity for every citizen, irrespective of his financial position and social status. In fact, it is a right of every person to get affordable health care facilities to live a healthy life. However, over the years, the cost of health care has gone up considerably making it very difficult for people with low incomes to get sufficient health insurance coverage. The governments across the world too have to face innumerable challenges to provide cheap health care to an ever rising population. The advantages and disadvantages of health care reform have been a matter of great debate. Though many people have appreciated the reforms made by passing the health care bill, there are some critics pointing out to the negatives of the bill.

Advantages and Disadvantages

The number of United States citizens who do not have a health insurance has grown fast over the years. The high prices of premiums quoted by insurance companies is considered to be a major reason for this problem. However, the new health care reforms promise to make health insurance cover available to around ninety-five percent people who are legally staying in the United States of America. Another advantage is that the insurance companies would not be able to deny the payment of medical bills to a person who is unwell and has also lost his job.

The health care reforms have been termed as a positive step by many knowledgeable people, as they would help in reducing the costs of medicines in the coming days. The provisions in the health care bill can intensify the competition between the health insurance providers in the United States market and this can ultimately benefit the consumers, as the companies might consider reducing costs of their services and relax the terms and conditions to be eligible for payment. This health care bill is also useful for the young adults, who will get the benefit of health care facilities through their parents’ health insurance, till they become twenty-seven years old.

However, according to some experts, there are certain problems associated with the health care bill. The main issue is that the government would require to raise a huge amount of money to provide modern facilities to people. The possibility of raising this money by increasing the taxes on businesses and high income families is much more than most other means. There might be an increase in the excise tax for several businesses. Some other experts believe that spending such huge amounts can put a strain on the economy of a country. The citizens who do not wish to have a health insurance policy, might have to pay two percent more taxes than the others who opt for them.

After thinking rationally and studying the entire situation with the help of facts, we conclude that health care reforms would actually prove to be very useful in improving the quality of life. Explaining the advantages and disadvantages to the common public is essential to educate them about insurance. Health care reform facts of underdeveloped countries suggest that still there is much to be done in this field for the benefit of common people. So, it is time that we realize the importance of good health care facilities and take steps in the right direction for a healthy future.

Importance of Computers in the Health Sector

300-79084610-serious-scientistWe are living in a modern, technologically advanced world. The computer age has led to fast globalization and fast access to information and technology. Computers have become an important household item and an invariable part of education, business, profession and service industry. Computerization promotes fast growth, fewer mistakes and better service in each and every field of life.

Role of Computers in the Health Sector

Availability of Information
Internet provides information on everything. New discoveries regarding operative procedures, medicines, study reports, are available on the Internet. You can easily order medicines from any part of the world. You can send medical reports via e-mail and get suggestions immediately from a doctor who is far away from you. Direct, live telecast of operation from a remote corner of the world can be watched in any part of the world. Web conferences help doctors to learn techniques without wasting time in traveling. Lives of critically ill patients can be saved, as time is saved.

Database Management
Importance of computer in hospitality industry is well-known. Booking of hotels, booking of tickets, stock management, is done with the help of computers. Computers have revolutionized the health care industry as well. Database management at clinics and hospitals has become an easy job with the arrival of computers. Computers help to keep track of all the patient’s medical history, stock of medicines, purchases and sales, staff information, everything. The required information is available at the click of a button. Storing medical reports of millions of patients is easier with computers. Storage of data in computers is an eco-friendly way of storing information. Various sites inform about the people who regularly donate blood. Blood of any blood group is thus available within a few minutes with the help of the Internet.

Advanced Technology
Computers provide the base for the technological advancements that are seen in every field. The field of medicine has also benefited from computers. These days, specially designed software and automated machines are used to treat various diseases and disorders. Diagnostic tools like MRI, CT scans, ultrasound tests, radiation technology, require computers. New computerized technologies used during operations (for example, laparoscopic surgeries, use of micro-cameras, laser surgeries, machine cuts, have resulted in very short stays in hospitals post surgery and fast recovery as well. With improved and fast diagnosis, chances of recovery have also significantly increased. Micro-cameras help carry out delicate procedures without much loss of blood. Importance of computers in health care is explained by their use in infertility treatments, DNA research, cancer treatment (radiation), treatment of premature infants, detection of defects in the fetus in the womb, etc. The ICUs in hospitals are equipped with computerized machines which monitor the health of critically ill patients.

Medical Imaging
Significance of computer technology in the health sector is actually unquestionable when it comes to medical imaging. The technology and the instruments have helped save lives of millions of people. Various types of techniques help create images of the human body, or body parts, for medical purposes. The modern methods of scanning and imaging like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), ultrasonography, mammography, 3-D images are based on advanced computer technology. Storing these images is also easy because of computers. Computerized machines and infrared cameras help get sharp, fine and perfect images.

Computers can inform about the changes taking place inside the human body without a cut in the skin. For example, bone scan, prenatal ultrasound imaging, blood glucose monitors, endoscopy, blood pressure monitors, etc. Computers have brought more precision in medical examinations and diagnosis. Use of computers in the health sector promotes faster detection of cause of the disease, and early but correct diagnosis. Medical alerts help prevent diseases and disorders. All this has resulted in increased life expectancy of patients.

Diversity in Healthcare

Before discussing the relevance and ways of dealing with cultural diversity in healthcare, let’s understand what exactly culture is. In layman’s language, culture can be defined as a set of beliefs, values, behavior, languages, and customs that are common to and followed by people of a particular group, race, or country. Cultural diversity, thus, is these very things that differentiate people belonging to two different groups.

The main job of any healthcare provider is to ensure that the patient trusts him, is open to discussing his problems with him, and takes the treatment suggested by him. This will happen when the patient feels comfortable with the healthcare provider. If the patient belongs to some other culture, the only way a healthcare provider can make him comfortable is by taking into consideration the social and cultural differences between the two, during their interactions.

Managing Cultural Diversity in Healthcare

Today, in USA, there are people from Asian countries, African descents, Muslim countries, etc., living together. They are part and parcel of the diverse American society. All of them have their own ways of living, beliefs, values, etc. So, when a doctor deals with them, prior knowledge of their beliefs and culture will help him provide a better care for these patients. If the healthcare provider is equipped with knowledge of their culture, it will certainly improve his communication with the patient as well as the family. The patient too, on his part, will be able to trust such a healthcare provider, and is much more likely to continue with the treatment.

Let’s take the example of Islamic culture, and see what kind of issues can arise when a doctor is dealing with patients who practice Islam. In this culture, women should not be touched by a man who is not an immediate family member. So, if a doctor knows this, it would help him while dealing with Muslim women patients. Another practice is that people of this culture do not eat pork. As certain medicines such as insulin have pork ingredients in them, a doctor can face legal issues if he prescribes them to a practicing Muslim. However, if the doctor already has some idea of the Muslim culture, he can inform the patient about the medicine ingredients before prescribing it to him, thus avoiding such as an eventuality.

Let’s take another example, this time of the Chinese, to bring forth the relevance of cultural diversity. According to traditional Chinese medicine, a balance of ‘yin’ and ‘yang’ is extremely important to maintain one’s health. Yin represents all things that are passive and cold, while yang represents activity and heat. Both these should be in balance if the ‘Qi’ or energy of the body is to be maintained to ward off illnesses. According to the Chinese, medication too can have a cold or hot effect on the body. So, when a doctor prescribes a certain medicine to them, the Chinese may not take complete medication to ‘balance’ out the yin and yang in the body. They may do this without informing their physician, and it can deteriorate their health condition. So, if a doctor is aware of the Chinese beliefs, he would be in a better position to explain to them the importance of taking the full medication as prescribed by him.

Cultural Diversity Training

As can be gauged from the above examples, cultural diversity training is of utmost importance in today’s diverse society, to get rid of all kinds of barriers to healthcare. A trained doctor is more open to the cultural differences between him and the patient. He does not try to force his treatments on them, rather, he works with them to create solutions. He is more sensitive to the needs of his patients, and does not make any kind of assumptions about them on the basis of their ethnicity or race or cultural beliefs. A trained doctor is already aware of the kind of perceptions the patients might have about his treatment, and tries to explain his viewpoint in the most logical and sensitive manner to the patient and his family. When a doctor is culturally sensitive, the patient on his part, falls in line, and is more likely to agree to his treatment.

As can be seen, understanding cultural diversity in healthcare dispels many misunderstandings and conflicts that can arise between the physician and the patient, thus, leading to reduced legal disputes and better treatment. With the doctor understanding the needs of the patients, and the patients following the treatment and getting well, knowledge of cultural diversity is a win-win situation for everybody.

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.