Patient care quality and delivery are intrinsically connected since they influence patients’ healthcare experiences. Both are associated with what happens during the care process and give insights into the performance of the healthcare professionals. Delivering care service that is standard and timely is the cornerstone of an ethical care practice. Healthcare providers are often at the forefront of improving patient healthcare outcomes, but it sometimes becomes unclear how to achieve this obligation efficiently. Every medical situation is unique, and ethical dilemmas often occur even when hospitals have policies or regulations to address them.
Description of the Issue
The four principles of medical ethics are the most significant aspects of the quality and delivery of care services worldwide. However, there have been cases of patients dying from poor services rather than illnesses or injuries that make them seek care. According to a report, substandard care due to misdiagnosis is the third leading contributor to high mortality rates in the United States (Makary & Daniel, 2016). In addition, poor medical service delivery contributes to iatrogenic clinical deterioration, responsible for disabilities and other non-fatal injuries, which decrease patients’ quality of life (Kadivar et al., 2017). These problems highlight the lack of a patient-centered approach, which is pivotal to delivering care that satisfies the patients’ needs.
The Causes of the Issue
A healthy work environment creates an atmosphere where medics are inspired to utilize their clinical knowledge and skills. Such settings also encourage them to deliver services with utmost care. That said, the high-risk nature within hospitals can negatively impact the type of care patients receive due to negligence and other medical malpractices (Mihdawi et al., 2020). For example, the lack of medical equipment or unsafe staffing may negatively impact operations of providing care. The departmental inefficiencies make it difficult for administrators, nurses, and physicians to deliver safe care and, at the same time, avoid litigations due to delayed diagnosis.
In some cases, patients may present rare symptoms, and medics may disagree about necessary tests or procedures to provide proper treatment. As a result, they may experience emotional distress and work dissatisfaction. This is due to complex processes, burnouts, or inadequate resources to deliver the optimal care they would ideally want for their clients (World Health Organization, 2021). Delivering care with minimal benefit may demoralize staff members and make them feel like they are hurting their clients rather than assisting them. These experts may also feel pressured to report a high administrative workload and increase productivity. Therefore, they may find themselves in situations where they are torn between caring for their welfare and their patients’ needs.
Current Regulations Relevant To the Issue
In 2005, the national government enacted the Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act (PSQIA) to promote data collection, which helps to appraise and resolve healthcare quality and delivery concerns. The policy-makers created this act to enhance confidential and voluntary reporting of poor health practices. The regulation encourages medics to report events that undesirably influence patients’ health outcomes without fearing that the information can be used to initiate administrative or civil proceedings against them. The law also authorizes the HHS to safeguard the patients’ rights and privacy by levying penalties against confidential breaches. It also requires the AHRQ to produce a record of patient safety organizations (PSOs) that keep and maintain patient quality data (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 2021). All these prevent the under-reporting of medical violations and the inability to collect enough patients’ details for analysis to improve service delivery around the country.
How to Fix the Issue If Given the Opportunity and Resources
There are various essential elements that would solve this problem. For instance, investing in medical knowledge can boost expertise and experience to meet patients’ expectations. This can equip managers with the competency to arrange adequate personnel or handle conflicts, which creates the right conditions to support the provision of care (Griffiths et al., 2018). The staff should also be empowered to take control of their work and make independent decisions. Fostering collaborative working relationships based on mutual respect and expertise may help solve medical problems when ideas are shared between the interdisciplinary teams (Mihdawi et al., 2020). Different skills may help determine what is urgent or what type of care is needed and then flexibly coordinate diverse roles. In this case, to achieve this objective, it will be vital to increase the staffing level. This improves team composition to perform different functions according to qualifications and create a patient-centered culture inside the healthcare organizations.
Patient care quality and delivery involve offering care promptly and efficiently. However, circumstances in healthcare surroundings can sometimes make it impossible for healthcare workers to improve patients’ general well-being. The workforce may be overwhelmed, placing the patients at risk of not receiving the care they require. The inefficiencies in the healthcare system often contribute to numerous undesirable consequences, such as medical negligence, mismanagements, and civil lawsuits. To address these issues, the federal government has enacted PSQIA to encourage all stakeholders to report concerns regarding the quality and delivery of care to protect the public. Based on the recommendations, it is also vital to cultivate educational programs and collaborative efforts to realize patient care and quality requirements.
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. (2021). Patient safety organization (PSO) program: Patient safety and quality improvement act of 2005.
Griffiths, P., Recio-Saucedo, A., Dall’Ora, C., Briggs, J., Maruotti, A., Meredith, P., Smith, G. B., Ball, J., & Missed Care Study Group (2018). The association between nurse staffing and omissions in nursing care: A systematic review. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 74(7), 1474–1487.
Kadivar, M., Manookian, A., Asghari, F., Niknafs, N., Okazi, A., & Zarvani, A. (2017). Ethical and legal aspects of patient’s safety: A clinical case report. Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, 10, 15.
Makary, M., & Daniel, M. (2016). Medical error—The third leading cause of death in the US. British Medical Journal, i2139.
Mihdawi, M., Al-Amer, R., Darwish, R., Randall, S., & Afaneh, T. (2020). The influence of nursing work environment on patient safety. Workplace Health & Safety, 68(8), 384-390.
World Health Organization. (2021). Maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health, and ageing.