The quality of health care has been and will always be a constant challenge not only in the United States but in the whole world because the life of every human being largely depends on it. Health care encompasses the treatment as well as prevention of the physical, mental and emotional well-being of a person through the services given by the medical profession (Free Dictionary,2009).
One of the many challenges that health care providers are experiencing nowadays would be the lack of clear and defining clinical practice standards. The difference between the treatment that health care providers give to patients greatly reflects a variety of doubtfulness as to what the standards of health care should be. As a result, the patients and the insurance institutions are not guaranteed that the health care providers are giving the best and most efficient quality of care. In the article knowing what works in health care, the Institute of Medicine made a call to Congress for them to give due notice to the Department of Health to make a nationwide uniform assessment program that has adequate resources and the capability to assist the development of the guidelines and standards that will render evidence as to what really works when it comes to health care (Institute of Medicine,2008, p.2).
Conducting systematic reviews is another challenge for health care providers. Many acclaimed experts are making these reviews and due to lack of clear standards, it cannot be known who among these people are making good quality reviews. Millions of medical research are yearly published thereby making it difficult for the workers to choose which of these are reliable and on top of that, it is hard for them to keep abreast with recent developments (British Medical Association, N. d.). If these reviews are properly organized, it should be able to present the difference between what the doctors and patients want to find out when it comes to efficiency of service(Institute of Medicine,2008, p.3).
It is sad to say that the general quality of clinical practice guidelines is very poor and this fact should be given attention by the authorities. Expanding the capacity in using scientific evidence to find out what is effective in health care is another challenge. Making sound clinical practices is a good strategy in promoting the quality of health care services. The current guidelines is America is decentralized thereby making room for conflicts of interests. There is a much challenge in improving this aspect of health care because medical recommendations are essential in the practice of medicine and this definitely requires the use of sound judgment and discretion in interpreting evidence (Institute of Medicine,2008, p.5).
Quality chasm pertains to the wide gap that exists between the quality of health care in America today and the quality of health care that America could have. The Institute of Medicine is alarmed because the current state of health care delivery today falls short of the standard of quality that people should receive. Patients are not receiving the high quality of care that they should be receiving because the standards of health care fail to harness its ultimate benefits; here lies the deep chasm. This quality chasm exists because of the changes in the needs of the public, the poor organizational structure of the system in dealing with the challenges, the fast paced society and the rapid changes and development in technology fails to catch up with the health care system resulting in the providers’ inability to interpret knowledge and apply the new found technology into practice (Institute of Medicine,2001, p.1).
Bridging the gap between the opposite ends of the chasm can begin if the the health care providers unite to make a commitment for the development of the whole health care system founded on safety, effectivity, patient-centeredness, timeliness and equitable standards. The new system must prove to be reliable and responsive. Accessibility is also important that is why it is encouraged that there be a system in the internet, telephone and any other means that the patients can use at anytime. These visions will remain as such if the Congress will not initiate any program to jump-start these changes. Therefore, it is highly recommended that Congress makes a Health Care Fund in order to implement these programs across the country (Institute of Medicine,2001, p.2-5).
The cost of health care continues to sky rocket yet proof exists that the quality is greatly behind as compared to the reports coming from other countries who are spending less in this field. Now is the time to deal with change efficiently and quickly because when it comes to health care, status quo is unacceptable (Goff and Greenland, 2009).
British Medical Association. N. d. Systematic Reviews in Health Care. Retrieved May 27, 2009 from http://www.blackwellpublishing.com/medicine/bmj/systreviews/default.asp
Goof, D. ; Greenland, P. 2009. The Change We Need in Health Care. Medical News Today. Retrieved May 27, 2009 from http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/148011.php
Institute of Medicine. 2001. Crossing the Quality Chasm: A New Health System For the 21st Century. Retrieved May 27, 2009 from http://books.nap.edu/html/quality_chasm/reportbrief.pdf
Institute of Medicine. 2008. Knowing What Works in Health Care: A RoadMap for the Nation. Retrieved May 27, 2009 from http://www.iom.edu/Object.File/Master/50/721/Knowing%20What%20Works%20report%20brief%20FINAL%20for%20web.pdf
The Free Dictionary. 2009. Health Care. Retrieved May 27, 2009 from http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/health+care