Healthcare costs can have different meanings depending on who is explaining the term. In this regard, healthcare costs can be explained using three simple words: cost, spending, and price. In the first definition, health care cost refers to the amount spent on the overall production of services. In this case, before a patient can receive a CT scan, the hospital must have acquired a scanner alongside hiring an expert to read the scan. On the other hand, price explains health cost as the total amount spent by the hospital for the scanner or rather what the insurer has to pay for the patient’s treatment (Sylvia & Vigil, 2020). Finally, health cost as spending refers to the actual amount spent by a given group over some time. In other words, spending explains health costs as overall health expenditure within one year. The term also describes health cost total spending on a specific service type.
Health cost has been rising, with some of the major cause being the overall increase in health equipment, labor, and drugs. In addition, the growth to a greater extent has been attributed to the high-level specialty technology services that health centers tend to undergo. Although it is good to appreciate the quick quality outcomes of high-tech treatment, the service comes with increased hospital spending (Anderson et al., 2019). To reduce health care spending, the institution should access the value addition of their spending. In this case, hospitals are required to refrain from acquiring some costly drugs and equipment, which give poor results than cheaper and older medications. In simple terms, the hospital should avoid spending on things that do not improve patients’ health, yet they bear a significant portion of the overall costs. In this regard, health facilities must be patient-centered to avoid unnecessary costs that have no or minimal improvement.
The above three definitions demonstrate how the overall cost of health services has been increasing; therefore, most patients tend to make their medical decisions based on their finances instead of health necessity. As a result, low-income patients tend to stick to facility treatment that fits their pockets while not addressing their health needs. Moreover, the high cost of health has made many patients spend much of their time shopping around for an affordable service. By doing so, most of the patients’ health tends to worsen while others succumb as they search for a suitable treatment.
The suggested cost-saving methods are likely to curb the rising health care cost hence enhancing access to patients. Research has established that more than eight million people tend to lose their lives every year from a treatable condition but unaffordable (Fulton, 2017). Therefore, reducing the total cost of health spending will make it affordable and help in reducing mortality rates (Shi & Singh, 2019). Designing health services to meet patient needs will help improve service by addressing the patient’s fundamental needs.
A low-cost health service will ensure patients make treatment decisions with significant consideration of their health needs instead of finances. Low cost also helps in lowering patients’ time spent searching for an affordable service, hence receiving necessary on-time treatment. In simple terms, high-quality cost control and significant value will help enhance access and address patients’ needs (Fulton, 2017). Adopting such measures as the use of telemedicine will help to reduce costs related to hospital visits. By doing so, employees will stand a chance to manage their spending on health. The number of health workers also needs proper regulation to cut general employees’ spending. However, reduction needs to be done with great consideration of the health care needs in terms of numbers and skills.
Anderson, G. F., Hussey, P., & Petrosyan, V. (2019). It’s still the prices, stupid: Why the US spends so much on health care, and a tribute to Uwe Reinhardt. Health Affairs, 38(1), 87-95.
Fulton, B. D. (2017). Health care market concentration trends in the United States: Evidence and policy responses. Health Affairs, 36(9), 1530-1538.
Shi, L., & Singh, D. A. (2019). Delivering health care in America: A systems approach (7th ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC.
Sylvia M., & Vigil I. M. (2020). Overview of population health analytics. Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC .