Demand for Healthcare Services and the Related Factors

The provision of healthcare services to a population in a given country may be affected by the related factors such as the country’s expenditure for these services, technological know-how level, among other factors. For example, in the United States alone, it has been projected that healthcare expenditure would double by 2050 from the current 45% (Economist, 2004; qtd. in Denton & Gupta, 2008). Provision of healthcare services is not only tied to the demands for the services but also is influenced by the income of an individual and the country’s economic status, age of population, as well as other factors such as health status, societal norms, agricultural and industrial development. These factors may be linked in that one may result as a consequence of the other. For example, on a large scale, industrial and agricultural development are linked to employment of masses which would influence the income of the population resulting in poor or better access to healthcare services.

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Assessment of self-health status and seeking means to alleviate dangerous future trends such as seeking health insurance have been found as positively linked in several studies. Although Self-Assessed Health Status (SAHS) measures have been questioned as adequate measures of health (Lindeboom and van Doorslaer,2004; qtd. in Condliffe & Link, 2006), they are easier to obtain than objective measures of health. The decision to obtain insurance services, for example, may be influenced by the individuals’s experience with the healthcare systems, the associated attitudes towards it and risk tolerance. Taking such a decision may lead to improved or deteriorated health provision. In addition, the providers of health services may favor individuals who have better health conditions and neglect those with poorer conditions.

The self-assessment to health status is linked to the actual seeking of these services through individual income status of an individual because access to such health care demands that they pay for the same (Condliffe & Link, 2006). Condliffe and Link found a strong relationship between private health coverage and SAHS in the United States in a study even after controlling attitudinal factors like rating of health care and risk tolerance among others. While assessment of health self-status is important in making health-related decisions, the actual access to these particular services will be influenced by the economic status of an individual. In some cases, health facilities may be too high to afford for people of low economic income even when the individuals demand these services after self-assessment.

Demand for post-acute care may increase with an increase in an aging population in a given country or the world as a whole. Hospitals may thus be required to adopt measures that take care of these needs. Currently, the United States federal and state governments have already found need for community-based and home-based services for those with disabilities and senior citizens as alternatives to nursing home placement services after a stay in hospital and are funding these initiatives (“Nursing Care Takes a Smart Detour,” 2007; qtd. in Donna, 2008).

There have been proposals to develop post-acute programs, bed study among other needs to embrace themselves to future health demands of the aging population. Therefore, a healthcare system may be influenced by an aging population in that more people would demand better and more health services. A country may not afford the stress on its health personnel and facilities or may require adjustments in terms of the number of equipment, number of service personnel, and technology (Donna, 2008). This again may be tied to the income of people because higher demands for health services may lead to increased cost of them especially in the private sector because many people require these services, and the public means may be inadequate.

Developments such as in the agricultural and industrial sectors may influence demand for health services because more of the working population resulting from increased employment is being exposed to dangerous scenarios like accidents and cancerous infections as a result of usage of more and highly advanced pesticides. These in turn may require the employee to provide insurance cover to the already increased working population. As a result, companies may incur extra costs which will be passed to the customer through employee-based insurance schemes. For example, such developments may result in formation of more small businesses whose employees in the United States according to research by the Commonwealth Fund are forced to pay more (up to 18% more) than employees in the bigger firms. The impact may be conceptualized further with the consideration that 80% of the United States’ employees work in these small business firms. Again, there are high expenses for the insurance cover to be taken care of by the employer firms (Wells Fargo Small Business Roundup, 2008).

Social status may be influenced by the economic status of families and individuals. Poor housing, poor access to medical care and education may be driven by economic hardships and poor income. Although the affected may demand careful and more medical attention as a result of poor hygiene and other implications, they may not afford the services or better services due to poor incomes. In addition, rating of health services, attitudes to healthcare systems may influence decisions for taking healthcare services and initiatives such as insurance, either positively or negatively.

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References

Condliffe, S. and Link, C. R. “Health Status and the Demand for Private Health Insurance in the U.S.” 2006. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Economics of Population Health: Inaugural Conference of the American Society of Health Economists, TBA, Madison, WI, USA . 2008. Web.

Donna J. Cameron “Postacute strategic planning: preparing for an aging population: is your hospital prepared to offer patients high-quality, cost-effective post-acute options? A post-acute strategic plan can prepare your organization to serve an aging population” Healthcare Financial Management. 2009. Web.

Denton B. & Gupta D. Appointment scheduling in health care: challenges and opportunities. 2008. IIE Transactions. Web.

Economist. (2004) A survey of health care finance. 372(8384), 3-14

“Nursing Care Takes a Smart Detour,” Philadelphia Inquirer, 2007.

Wells Fargo Small Business Roundup (2008). Reforming Health Care reform. Web.

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