The Granny Cam Debate

Last week during discussion section as we debated the use of “granny cams” in nursing homes someone brought up the fact that these “granny cams” should not be used because of the fact that cameras aren’t allowed in any other type of medical room setting. This reasoning makes sense however, it relies on families playing a large role in protecting the patient. How can nursing homes alleviate families from this major responsibility without infringing on patient privacy?

Use of technology in the treatment of depression

Recently computer programs targeted to treat those dealing with depression have been made commercially available. These programs were created to allow patients with greater access to treatment as well as decrease the costs for treating patients. While this innovation seemed as beneficial to all partied involved, results from a study conducted studying the effectiveness of the computer based programs stated that they are no more effective and possibly even less effective in the treatment of patients who are depressed. Within the study, those who received treatment via the computer program were also more likely to stop seeking treatment and drop out of the study.

As discussed previously in class, as the role of technology is quickly rising in importance within the medical field people seem to forget the importance of human interaction in treatment. This study fully supports this notion. People don’t seem to acknowledge the positive effects human emotion and connection can be in treating illness. Depression is a really great example of an illness which needs human interaction because being depressed can often be described as being lost in your own little world, so adding human interaction as treatment is really important in combating the isolation felt during a season of depression. This is the exact reason why all roles within the medical field cannot and should not be outsourced to technology.

The biggest problem within the healthcare system

The biggest problem within the healthcare system is that it does not attempt to cure or treat social problems which are often more likely than not to have some root in causing said illness. Whenever anyone has a health problem, for example, one sees a doctor, gets medication, and is just sent back into the same environment as before. Seeing a doctor in some ways can be viewed no differently  than putting a bandaid on an open wound, without treating the actual cause hoping it’ll somehow get better. Granted the idea of “curing or treating” a social problem is about as obscure as you  can get, but how do physicians feel they can actually make a difference in peoples lives by just fixing the result without addressing the cause?

Medical Tourism

While medical tourism may seem like a promising idea, I’m not really completely sold on this. It seems appealing to be able to basically take a vacation while getting a procedure done (paying a great deal less than what you’d pay in America) but, I feel like this trend does nothing but emphasize the biggest flaw in the American healthcare system: cost. If this trend continues to grow, would this exaggerate the problem of cost within this system because less and less people would be paying into it? Does this also give people greater access to nonessential procedures at a greater risk?

Process Reflection 2

I’ve really enjoyed the topics discussed in the past few weeks of this course!  While everything we’ve discussed are topics I’ve have studied in other courses before, I love having conversations and learning more about things like the impact of SES on health. What I found particularly interesting was the idea of the constrained choice. This theory does a great job at explaining why social and economic policy affect and dictate health . I find that usually people look at life and the decisions one can make in terms of their health as being independent of each other factors within society, but as stated in this theory every decision made in terms of health is dependent on and affected by other choices or external factors that are often times out of one person’s control. Learning about ideas like constrained choice make it hard for me to understand how those who create these social and economic policies don’t see the implications it has on health and health policy.

I’ve also really enjoyed our conversations on medicalization. Its interesting to see the actual process of how conditions are medicalized and also examine this growing epidemic of medicalization. I feel like while it can benefit the general public to have conditions medicalized by separating the blame from the individual and their body, it also contributes to what i see as a growing problem of becoming too medicalized. When attempting to come up with a topic for my Medicalization assignment, I was simply shocked by the idea that every single idea I came up with had already been medicalized at least to some degree. While taking less stress and blame off of an individual for having what they view as a biological problem, it has become a sort of excuse for individuals to perpetuate certain behaviors and also a reason to use medication as a remedy for issues social or emotional issues. Like to the example used in class pertaining to ADHD. With this increase in ADHD diagnoses within both children and adults, we use medication to remedy what is viewed as a biological issue and completely ignore the social influences which may be affecting this “biological issue”. Becoming more medicalized as a country is not a good way to solve these issues my opinion.

This course has been extremely eye opening thus far and I’m excited to see what topics we will be covering next!

The Current State of ACA

The 2016 ACA enrollment period is to open on tomorrow November 1st and policy experts are predicting that ACA will be facing increased obstacles within the next year including lack of knowledge of eligibility for coverage within certain populations and increased cost being the most important. As projected by past enrollment figures, there are expected to be about 10 million Americans covered under ACA during 2016 which is increased from the 9.1 million covered during 2015. While the percentage of uninsured Americans is currently a little over 9% (the lowest it has been in decades) there are still about 10.5 million individuals who are eligible for coverage, but not covered and to no surprise, this group is mainly consists of young adults. In order for ACA enrollment to reach the expected numbers it must tap into this group of “eligible but not covered” group.

Also, market price premiums are expected to undergo a sharp increase of 7.5% with this next year. With prices increasing in this way, this element of cost could undermine the increased access to healthcare that ACA created resulting in an accessible but too costly coverage. The policy needs healthier Americans to buy into it in order to make it more affordable for both them and the sicker people already covered therefore increasing enrollment in ACA can also drive down prices. Unfortunately, if these obstacles are not over come ACA will not be able to survive.

I feel this problem of the increasing cost of premiums is a serious issue and quite problematic for ACA. In its creation, it was known that the major problem ACA was to address was access care, so if in the process of doing such a thing and increasing access the system ends up increasing cost it therefore contributes to the other major problem within healthcare and that idea is extremely problematic. I think this shows just how interconnected these too issues are and how maybe more effective policy would included addressing both issues and not simply just one.

Health of Hispanics within America

So we’ve mentioned repeatedly how health is primarily dictated by socioeconomic status, therefore those within a lower socioeconomic status will have worst health outcomes. We’ve also explored the idea that minority groups (such as African Americans and Hispanics) are predominantly clustered within a lower socioeconomic status. On Thursday during lecture we considered data which concluded that Hispanics (particularly Hispanic women) were the healthiest racial group within American. What fact can account for this? Is it just the affects of effective policy which this group was able to greatly benefit from, or is it something more, like some type of extension of the Hispanic Paradox? And if it is in fact some form of effective health policy, how can this policy be extended so other racial groups are able to benefit in a similar manner?

Food Deserts

In the video we watched last Thursday, it made the point that one of the biggest problems facing lower income neighborhoods was the idea of these neighborhoods being food deserts (an area which lacks access to fresh food, like that which would be found in a grocery store).  Prior to this I had never really thought of access to fresh food as a barrier faced by those in low income neighborhoods, however after watching this video I now see the severe consequences which can be faced as a result of this. In situations like this, residents literally don’t have the ability to chose the “healthy” option simply based on their location. In this case, your neighborhood dictates your options and therefore by extension your health. What legislation would have to be passed in order to begin to, both, stop the formation and reduce the number of food deserts in America?

Universal Healthcare

After seeing the video in class discussing other countries and the their respective healthcare systems, I’m just a little confused as to why America has yet to adopt a healthcare system similar to any of the systems used in these other countries? Granted no system is perfect and therefore is bound to contain some kind of flaw, overall these systems seem to be much more effective than our current system at providing adequate care to citizens at a reasonable price. I don’t see why America has yet to follow suit.

Process Reflection 1

In just a short time I feel I’ve learned so much about the US Healthcare system I previously had no idea about. Our conversations concerning over-utilization, the problem of healthcare cost and access to care, as well as the main ideas of the Affordable Care Act have really opened my eyes to the real problems we as a country are facing. It has actually saddened me quite a bit though. With the way the current system is setup I feel like the majority of those who truly need the help have no way of getting that help because of the flawed system and flawed legislation that has never been corrected or loop-holes that have been exploited. This is sort of the depressing reality of the America we live in that we just have to accept, but I don’t think we as a country can stagnate in terms of healthcare legislation for much longer.

Even though there are so many things wrong with our healthcare system, I feel we are making great strides toward change. The passing of ACA, while long over due, opened up the door for more healthcare legislation to make it to congress. I would really be excited if in the near future legislation concerning healthcare cost regulation made it to the table. But I’m excited to see the next topics we are to discuss in this course!