According to the Mayo Clinic Report (August 2013) part of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the US healthcare system is far from being ideal or provide a success story to the rest of the world. Innovative medical treatments go along with unaffordable price tags. According to the findings by Commonwealth Fund (2007), Americans are least relatively satisfied with the national healthcare system compared to other well-developed economies (Hartman et al., 2008).
Medical procedures are useless and even cause harm
Mayo Clinic researchers revealed that more than 50% of all medical procedures are useless, or worse than that cause harm. The research data shows that generally applied medical treatments fail to cure patients, or even do harm them. In fact, from 40 to 78 percent of the medical diagnoses, testing, procedures, and treatments patients actually receive are of no use to them or do harm them. Such state of affairs causes a loss of faith in overall healthcare system by patients and therapists, and therefore necessitates crucial reversals. The system should prioritize on innovative trials with elaborating and applying new clinical practices and their systematic evaluation. Thus, the importance of deployment of effective medical practices is crucial, while it is also important to reveal the facts of ineffective practices as the way to cease them in the future. As for now, various therapies are still in use even though they are useless and harmful. Being part of clinical research, incentives will force physicians to reconsider the effectiveness of commonly used healthcare practices and deploy innovative practices instead (DeNavas-Walt et al., 2011).
Poor healthcare coordination
Waste is a top problem in the US healthcare system. Ineffective management of patient care is evident in complicated cases that necessitate the involvement of multiple providers. Duplicate testing, insufficient access to medical records, communication gaps, and violations of patient privacy and confidentiality all result in a rather improper and fragmented healthcare provision. Inefficient communication with the primary healthcare providers, unscheduled referrals, and missing appointments all lead to adverse consequences while more than 7,000 people are dying each year due to overall inefficiency of physicians. Poor management of the Americans healthcare system is also due to the lack of primary care providers. Patient’s physicians are unaware about their medical histories, and therefore provide them with dire standard of care. Unsurprisingly, Americans rank as the most frequent victims of medical errors that are the primary cause of people’s death that outnumber the death rates caused by heart diseases and cancer. Another downside of the system is that fewer Americans are receiving healthcare overall. This is mainly due to the lack of access to healthcare facilities as well as the poor management thereof. Furthermore, 30 percent of Americans are underinsured or uninsured, while 25 percent fail to pay a visit to a doctor because of high cost. Staggering 23% do not know how to fill prescriptions (U.S. Census Bureau, 2012).
Spending too much and receiving too little
The US is a top healthcare spender compared to the combined spending of Germany, France, Japan, the UK, China, Canada, Italy, Spain, Brazil, and Australia altogether. Still, the country ranks 17 compared to other well-off countries. Ione third of each dolar spent on medical care turns into a waste accounting to an annual average of staggering USD 750 billion. More than a third of Americans have trouble with paying medical bills while 66% of bankruptcies relate to inability of covering medical bills due. This way the US healthcare system creates medical impoverishment that is unacceptable in any other wealthy nation (Fisher et al., 2009).
Such gruesome reality makes patients rather vulnerable and potential victims of the system’s falls and drawbacks. Overall, the system needs serious reversals and high quality management to provide quality healthcare to millions of patients.
- DeNavas-Walt C, Proctor BD, Smith JC, U.S. (2011). Census Bureau. Current Population Reports (P60-239): Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2010. Washington, DC: U.S. Govenrment Printing Office.
- Fisher E, Goodman D, Skinner J, Bronner K. (2009). Health Care Spending, Quality, and Outcomes: More Isn’t Always Better. The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice Center for Health Policy Research.
- Hartman M, Martin A, Nuccio O, Catlin A. (2008). Health spending growth at a historic low in 2008. Health Aff (Millwood). 29(1):147–155.
- U.S. Census Bureau (2012). Projections of the population and components of change for the United States: 2010 to 2050.