The field of health human resources in the health field deals with issues such as planning, performance, management, development, information, retention, and research on human resources in the health sector Successful realization the mission and goals in this field is determined by the dedication and skills that the specialists possess. This study identifies various issues that often arise and bedevils this field. Current trends relating to technological advancements affecting the success and performance of employees in this field are also identified (Fried, & Johnson, 2002). Therefore, in order to improve service delivery in the health sector and consequently promote a healthy society, it is critical to identify and analyze the various challenges facing human resources in the health sector. This will provide a basis for developing various interventions aimed at dealing with the identified challenges and consequently improving the quality of service delivery in the health sector (Kabene, 2011).
Human Resource Issues in Health Field
The main challenge plaguing human resources in the health field are the lack of adequate employees with sufficient skills and the right motivation required to provide quality health services. The availability of health workers is a critical factor in the functioning of any health system. An analysis of the health system provides various observations that highlight the gravity of this challenge. The average number of health workers per capita has been steadily declining and has now reached critically low levels. The situation worsens in areas further from urban centers. The number of health workers is disproportionately low in such places resulting in inequitable access to health services. The percentage of unskilled or inadequately skilled health workers is high with the productivity and performance of health workers being inadequate. According to statistics from the World Health Organization, the global health industry is suffering from an acute shortage of health care providers with the shortage levels recorded as follows: 4.3 million midwives, nurses, physicians, and support workers worldwide. The shortage of healthcare workers is most severe in the poorest nations especially those located in Sub-Saharan Africa results in a "health workforce crisis."
The shortage of skilled healthcare workers is evident in many health care areas. For instance, there is an estimated shortage of about 1.2 million mental health care providers, which is inclusive of 630,000 nurses in mental health settings, 500,000 psychosocial care providers, and 60,000 psychiatrists in 150 low- and middle-income regions. Furthermore, there is a general shortage of skilled birth attendants around the globe especially in developing countries. This situation renders human resource managers in the health field unable to perform their key functions of staffing healthcare institutions and organizations with adequate personnel with relevant skills, knowledge and abilities (American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration, 2012).
The second challenge facing human resources in the health field is the issue of compliance. Since health care is a critical segment of society, governments are directly involved in the health sector in terms of regularly putting in place policies and regulations that end up impact the manner in which human resources in the health sector conduct their activities. For instance, the recent ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that the Health Care Reform (the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, or the ACA) is constitutional, presents a great challenge to human resource managers and employers in the health field especially in terms of compliance. Many healthcare employers have been caught unawares by this ruling and now have to institute immediate measures in order to meet the ACA compliance requirements (Fried & Johnson, 2002).
The third human resource challenge in the health field is inadequate productivity and performance. There is a general understanding that the quality of healthcare delivery is low especially in public health care facilities. In addition, the performance of the healthcare providers is relatively poor, leading to increased lawsuits by clients citing negligence and poor services. Medical negligence is recognized as one of the greatest killers. This has resulted in the death, and serious injury of many patients and the trend is on the increase. Research confirms the increasing incidents of medical care negligence where the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that there were 181,000 severe injuries attributable to medical negligence in the year 2003 alone (Kabene, 2011).
Treatment that is provided to a given patient tends to vary significantly depending on the healthcare providers they use. Research indicates that health care providers do not use various cost effective treatments as often as they are supposed to be using them. This is especially in cases where patients have access to insurance cover hence the cost is met by their insurance provider. In such cases, most healthcare practitioners have been known to engage in the overuse of medical benefits as moral hazards they perform unnecessary diagnostic tests and treatments in order to increase costs.
The fourth challenge to healthcare human resources when analyzing global systems is the migration of healthcare workers. Research indicates that there are significant levels of migration of health care workers from rural areas to urban settlements. This is further experienced on a global scale where healthcare professionals are migrating from developing nations to developed ones. This leads to imbalances in the health field where some areas face critical shortages of healthcare practitioners. The migration of healthcare practitioners in such areas is mainly due to salary incentives and improved living standards. Developed nations tend to provide adequate housing to health care practitioners, enhanced salaries, infrastructure, and opportunities. Such factors attract qualified personnel from developing economies to work in developed once. This often results in regional imbalances and poor health care performance in the developing nations (Fried & Fottler, 2011).
Possible intervention for improving the human resource in the health care field
One way of dealing with the issue of inadequate staffing in medical institutions is to increase funding for healthcare educational programs. Healthcare courses tend to be significantly more expensive hence although there are a significant percentage of people who are eligible to enroll; they tend to shy away because of the high cost of education. In this way, by subsidizing medical courses, the health care field will have access to more healthcare practitioners. This further helps in dealing with some of efficiency and quality issues in healthcare service provision. Evidently, most of these issues are attributable to the fact that healthcare practitioners spent much of their time on duty leading to exhaustion (Fried & Johnson, 2002).
Proper record keeping is an effective way of managing human resource issues in negligence. The proper documentation of the treatment provided to a patient is very critical. Furthermore, the field of medical record keeping has developed significantly and the use of proper record keeping is the fundamental way of proving whether a given medical practitioner treated a patient properly or not. Furthermore, proper records facilitate the scientific evaluation and review of patient management issues. The maintenance of proper medical records will serve to enhance the scientific evaluation of the profile of their patient, facilitate in the analysis of the treatment results and to identify and plan the necessary treatment protocol. These records will further assist in evaluating cases pertaining to the issue of alleged medical negligence. In instances of medical negligence, the legal system mainly depends on documentary evidence. In this way, by facilitating the legal system with solving cases of medical negligence, medical practitioners will be more inclined into ensuring that they perform their best ensuring that proper medical procedures are followed when treating a patient.
The fifth issues facing human resources in the health field is infrastructure. Medical equipment including drugs and facilities tend to be very expensive: only a limited number of health institutions mainly private health centers are able to afford. This therefore leaves a greater number of health practitioners operating with minimal or inadequate resources…