community's access to health care technology and determine how that access (or lack thereof) affects your community economically. 2) Assess your community's demand for health capital and determine the factors contributing to the level of demand that you find. 3) Assess your community's demand for health insurance and determine the factors contributing to the level of demand that you find.
The learning objectives of this research paper are: 1) To identify factors which influence the production of health care services. 2) To apply the use of technology and information resources to investigate issues in health economics. In addition to these learning objectives, this research paper will review the factors which limit the production of health care services in the High Point, Guilford County region of North Carolina. The factors which limit access to health care from the health care clients perspective will also be explored.
The practice of health care providers in the U.S.A. Is going through an evolution. This evolution is enabled by the implementation of health care information technology. As an outcome of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) 2001 request for action, medical care facilities have been implementing electronic health care records, computerized doctor's order entries and bar coding for the pharmaceutical industry. Since the IOM's request for action, medical care facilities have implemented the modernization of clinical and research databases. As an outcome of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Department of Health and Human Services has designated the application of information technology in the health care field as one of the most important components of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding. The significant application of health care information technology since the IOM's request for action has become the intention of introducing evidence-based health care practice. The evidence-based health care practice applies information technology resources in which the clinical and research data collected is designed to improve the administrative efficiency of medical care facilities. The outcome is improved patient safety and the rapid application of research discoveries into clinical practices (Ferranti et al., 2010).
The health care network of High Point, Guilford County provides health care service to a diverse cosmopolitan community. The availability of health care services is not a limiting factor in the workforce development of Guilford County. There are some notable obstacles of accessibility to health care in the lower economic strata. A diverse number of programs have been implemented, in order to assure that all members of the Guilford County community have unrestricted access to health care services. The High Point North Carolina residents are served by the High Point Regional Health Care System. The High Point Regional Health Care System endeavors to provide accessibility to all children who require health care services. This is an ongoing endeavor which has room for improvement (The Herman Group, Inc., 2004). In the decade from 1990- 2000 there has been significant improvement in several primary health care indicators. The most notable improvements are:
A decrease in the mortality from heart disease.
A decrease in the number of women ingesting tobacco during pregnancy.
A higher number of women are receiving pregnancy counseling and prenatal health care services.
A decrease in the youth mortality index (The Herman Group, Inc., 2004).
The areas which are to be addressed in the High Point Regional Health Care System are the following:
Increasing access to health care services for families who are of low economic capacity.
Increasing the education available to the public of health care services which are available to families
Addressing chronic infirmities among children in the educational system and addressing the deficiency of school nurses.
Addressing the economic health care factors which consist of an over demand of health care services provided by Guilford County, NC at no cost.
Addressing the language and cultural belief systems which have proven to be a barrier to the community access of health care services
Decreasing the number of child abuse and child neglect cases.
There are other important factors which have been assessed by the county health personnel of Guilford County. These factors which have a significant impact on community health in Guilford County, NC are:
A high transmission rate of sexually transmitted diseases (STD s), especially syphilis.
An increasing HIV / AIDS transmission rate.
Abuse of alcohol and illegal drugs (The Herman Group, Inc., 2004).
A great deal of economic theory of the health care supply and demand equation is founded upon the Grossman human capital approach to health care services (Grossman, 1972; Grossman, 2000). In this matrix, the demand for health care services can be assessed from the demand for health. Individuals in a community produce good health conditions by applying a number of resources. These resources are good exercise, education, good nutrition, lifestyle selections and health care services. Since this human health care capital equation has been devised, there have been a number of improvements added to this theory. These improvements include the elements which compose the supply side and demand side of the theory. There is a supply side of the equation which consists of the established price, expenses (i.e., health care personnel salaries, health care equipment costs, equipment maintenance and health care facilities) awareness of technology, awareness of treatment procedures and administrative health care efficiency. There is also a demand side to the equation which consists of the opportunity cost to the health care client (i.e., travel expenditure, lost time from work), quality of life, household income, social factors (i.e., belief systems and cultural elements) and health care client education. The elements of this matrix are defined as: Qd which is total demand, Q which is net demand, Pm which is price, Ql which is quality of care, Ps which is the alternative to health care treatment, T which is household income, K which is belief systems and cultural influences, E which is education and PH which represents life choices. This equation represented by the demand side of the equation is:
Qd = Q ( Pm, Ql, Ps, T, K, E, PH)
The demand side of the Grossman human health care capital equation can be defined with the following elements: Qs which is the total health care supply, Q which is the net supply, Pmu which is the movement is the price of health care, F which represents the factors such as health care production factors, personnel expenses, health care equipment expenses, health care material supply expenses and facilities expense. T represents technology and information resources, and M. which represents administrative health care efficiency. The equation represented by the supply side of the equation is:
Qs = Q ( Pmu, F, T, M)
The health care client demand factors are dependent upon education, health client family income and cultural factors (Ensor & Cooper, 2004).
The health care insurance coverage of a family has deep impact on the children's access to emergency health care. Family health care insurance deficiency has been linked to fewer visits to the doctor's office and insufficient preventative health care measures. The application of public health care insurance services such as Medicaid, has increased the children's access to a regular source of routine care. Children of lower income families are still unlikely to receive regular health care services in physician's offices and clinics. These children from lower income families are more probable to suffer deficiencies in the continuity of health care services than more affluent children. This deficiency of routine health care among the children of uninsured families and families with Medicaid coverage may result is an over demand of emergency room hospital services. Research has demonstrated that children of families who do not have health insurance coverage and children of families who have Me3dicaid coverage are more likely to designate the emergency rooms of hospitals as their usual place of receiving health care services. The children of families who have Medicaid coverage have higher incidences of non-urgent emergency room hospital visits (Luo et al., 2003).
Over demand of emergency room services has become a national problem. Millions of children require emergency room visits each year in order to receive medical care. Pediatric patients account for one in four emergency room hospital visits. Research has demonstrated that 33% to 50% of these emergency room pediatric visits are for non-urgent problems. In some regions, pediatric non-urgency emergency room hospital visits account for 70% of all emergency room patient intakes. A number of researchers have conducted investigations which explore the relationship between health insurance coverage and emergency room hospital visits. The outcome demonstrated that children of families with non- HMO insurance were more probable to visit the emergency room of a hospital than children of families who did have HMO insurance (Luo et al., 2003).
The child welfare system offers very interesting research opportunities. Research has demonstrated that there are disparities in health care service access due to the fact that the children who are clients of the child welfare system represent a vulnerable population. In addition to this fact, the child welfare agencies can enable access for their clients to the…