Healthcare plays a vital role in the lives of people, communities, and countries, ensuring the well-being of individuals. It involves a collaborative effort between clinical, administrative, and support staff to make healthcare accessible to everyone. For nursing students seeking to delve deeper into healthcare, this blog provides valuable insights into different healthcare systems, models, the distinction between healthcare and medical care, and compelling research topics in the field.
Understanding Healthcare in Nursing
Healthcare encompasses various activities aimed at enhancing health, such as diagnosis, rehabilitation, prevention, treatment, and cure of diseases, injuries, and mental and physical impairments. It is delivered by a diverse group of professionals, including nurses, doctors, and health organizations. The accessibility of healthcare depends on factors like economic and social conditions and health policies, making it different for individuals, communities, and countries.
To access healthcare, financial considerations, geographic barriers, personal limitations, sociocultural expectations, and health literacy must be taken into account. Healthcare is a critical aspect of overall well-being and mental and physical health for individuals worldwide.
Differentiating Healthcare from Medical Care
Medical care involves professional services provided by doctors to cure illnesses through new remedies, surgeries, procedures, and medications, as well as administering vaccinations for disease prevention. Doctors diagnose the condition, recommend necessary treatment, and find solutions for illnesses. On the other hand, healthcare operates as a business with profit motives, employing various staff like nurses, doctors, medical assistants, billing clerks, etc. It includes CEO salaries, administration costs, insurance premiums, and insurance denials, with revenue generation dependent on the number of visits and orders.
Different Types of Healthcare Systems
Healthcare systems play a crucial role in maintaining community health, reducing expensive medical costs, and providing healthcare services to the sick. There are four main healthcare models designed to meet the needs of communities: the Bismarck Model, the Beveridge Model, the Income Model, and the National Health Insurance Model. Different countries adopt varying combinations of these models to structure their healthcare systems.
The Bismarck Model
Named after Otto von Bismarck, the Prussian chancellor, the Bismarck Model utilizes private insurance agencies known as sick funds, which operate as non-profits and are mandated to accept all citizens without discrimination. Both employers and employees contribute to the insurance policy through compulsory payroll deductions. Employees have access to the sickness fund, but the insurance company does not profit financially from it.
This model is a blend of public and private health providers and allows flexibility in healthcare spending. While hospitals and providers are private, insurers are public. Some countries have a single insurer, while others have multiple competing insurers, with the government overseeing pricing.
Bismarck’s healthcare model boasts shorter waiting times, improved accessibility, and high-quality consumer-oriented healthcare. However, it faces criticism concerning how to provide care to those unable to work, such as the aging population. This model is prevalent in countries like France, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Japan.
The Beveridge Model
Named after the social reformer William Beveridge, who devised Britain’s Health Service, the Beveridge Model is a healthcare system financed and provided by the state through tax payment. Healthcare clinics are managed either by the state or privately funded by the government, and most health workers are government employees.
This system incurs a low cost per capita, as the government, as the sole payer, determines the charges for doctors’ services. One major criticism of this model is the likelihood of long waiting queues, as every citizen is guaranteed access to healthcare, leading to increased costs and over-utilization. The Beveridge system is utilized in New Zealand, Great Britain, Spain, Hong Kong, Cuba, and most of Scandinavia.
The Income Model
Commonly found in developing countries where healthcare systems lack financial stability, the Income Model requires patients to pay for healthcare services out of their own pockets. The wealthy can afford professional medical care, while the poor community is denied access due to financial constraints.
In this model, healthcare access is primarily determined by income, leaving many individuals in rural and isolated areas without access to healthcare throughout their lives. This system does not have a health insurance component, and taxes are not used to provide healthcare for all citizens. The Income Model is prevalent in rural areas of Africa, China, India, South America, and among under-insured or uninsured populations in the US.
The National Health Insurance System
The National Health Insurance System incorporates elements of both the Bismarck and Beveridge Models. Like the Bismarck Model, private organizations are responsible for delivering healthcare services, while the government funds healthcare services through taxation, akin to the Beveridge Model. This system covers a wide range of medical procedures regardless of income.
The government aims to reduce duplication of services and processes all claims to minimize insurance administration costs. However, a significant criticism of this model is its perceived limitation in medical usefulness, as patients must pay for it and may face prolonged waiting times for treatment. Long waiting periods and treatment delays are pressing health policy issues in this model. It is predominantly used in countries like South Korea, Taiwan, and Canada.
Levels of Healthcare Systems
The healthcare system is categorized into three levels: primary care, secondary care, and tertiary care.
1. Primary care is the initial point of contact between patients and health professionals, such as nurses, physicians, public health nurses, midwives, etc. It covers a wide range of healthcare services for patients of all ages, from diverse geographic areas, and with various chronic illnesses. Primary care may include child health and maternal care services, such as vaccination and family planning. Depending on the health condition, patients may be referred to secondary or tertiary care.
2. Secondary care involves short-term treatment for serious illnesses or injuries. Health providers in this level include clinical psychologists, psychiatrists, physiotherapists, dental specialists, occupational therapists, etc. Secondary care services are provided during intensive care, childbirth, in emergency departments, or imaging services. Some patients may see medical specialists through self-referral, while in other cases, a referral from another physician is necessary, regardless of the funding.
3. Tertiary care offers specialized consultation for inpatients referred from primary or secondary levels, taking place in facilities equipped with advanced medical investigation and treatment tools. Tertiary care services include plastic surgery, cardiac surgery, cancer management, palliative care, and other complex surgical and medical treatments.
Hot Topics for Healthcare Research
Selecting an appropriate research topic for healthcare can be challenging. An engaging topic should capture readers’ attention, inspire future researchers, demonstrate your knowledge, and contribute to your academic progress. If you’re unsure where to start with your healthcare research paper, consider exploring some of the following research topics:
1. Public usage and spending on mental health services
2. Identification and comparison of medical health organizations
3. The role of nurses in environmental health
4. The importance of healing environments in healthcare systems
5. Health promotion plans for nutrition and weight status
6. Health promotion in family pediatrics
7. The significance of nutrition health in geriatric care
8. Concept of health medical organizations
9. Threats of psychological health problems
10. Trends of human resource management in healthcare
11. Effects of evidence-based practice on global health
12. Family health assessment in nursing
13. Standards of information technology in healthcare
14. The role of health promotion in public health
15. Impact of environmental changes on human health
16. The role and practice of health promotion
17. Influence of social inequalities on health
18. Nursing’s role in American healthcare policy
19. Pediatric healthcare services in the United States
20. Functions of electronic health records
21. Health risks associated with male circumcision
22. Components of effective healthcare
23. Features of healthcare governance
24. Impact of genetically modified foods on human health
25. Future trends in healthcare
26. Impact of stress on psychological health
27. Global health issues
28. Most common mental health problems
29. Strategies for promoting health for obese patients
30. Effects of environmental pollution on health
31. Health education plans
32. The role of nursing in improving patient health
33. Effects of environmental change on health
34. Problems of healthcare in South Africa
35. Causes and treatment of virus infections
36. Opportunities and challenges of the financial crisis
37. Management of hospital emergencies during an epidemic
38. Legal issues and medical malpractice
39. Side effects of oral contraception
40. Benefits of early cancer detection
Healthcare in nursing plays a crucial role in promoting health, diagnosing, treating, and rehabilitating patients with various illnesses and conditions. Understanding healthcare systems and models is essential for improving healthcare accessibility and quality. When conducting healthcare research, selecting an engaging topic is vital to make a meaningful contribution to the field. Consider the provided hot topics to inspire your research and academic progress in healthcare.