The delivery of Health Care is undergoing a change that is formalizing through “Industrialization” which mirror those that began in other industries a century ago (Rastegar, 2004). The 20th century was an era of immense political shifts and technological developments. It was the revolution that paved the way for the development and flow of new technologies that shape our everyday life. The three elements that could pose problems with Industrializing Structures for delivery of healthcare policies are: Standardization of roles and tasks, Increasing division of labor and the degradation or deskilling of work (McLaughlin & McLaughlin, 2008). The development of standardized protocol driven systems in health care is being forced to break complex tasks performed by individuals down into simple tasks assigned to different members of a team to study, analyze and specify the best ways to do each of those tasks (McLaughlin & McLaughlin, 2008).
The outcome was that work progressed from the control and originality of the skilled person to a systematic process that was perhaps more efficient and less personal. Managed care has become a major form of organization for care delivery. The merging of health care industry, the disintegration of physician roles and the increasing numbers of non-physician clinicians will likely accelerate in the delivery of care. The typical physician at the beginning of the 20th century was a general practitioner who treated a broad spectrum of medical problems, but as the century progressed, the work of physicians steadily splintered into narrower disciplines (Rastegar, 2004, pg.1). Specialists focused on particular diseases or organ illnesses which allowed continuity of care.
Physicians should be concerned about the disruption of continuity of care and the potential loss of professional values. Other symptoms of industrialization in the health care include increase of division labor and deskilling of work. Usually management includes, line managers who allocate the work and staff specialists whose job is to specify and improve processes. Where the process is well defined and skill requirements can be reduced, labor substitution takes place – routine work is done by less expensive personnel with more limited training and less self-sufficiency and with the pressure of the numbers of patient seen (McLaughlin & McLaughlin, 2008).
Medicine has traditionally been the domain of independent physicians who acquired their position and prestige through a long and arduous apprenticeship, much like the skilled craftsman of the turn of the century, but one unintended consequence of this fragmentation might be that the skill and training required to provide medical care in the 21st century will diminish. We may be entering an era in which the broadly trained physician with diverse skills will fade away, much like the traditional craftsman (Rastegar, 2004).
McLaughlin, C., & McLaughlin, C. (2008). Health Policy Analysis. Canada: Rastegar, D. (2004). Healthcare becomes an Industry. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1466626/
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