Assignment 3: Position Paper on Health Policy
Due Date: 28/09/2020
Now that you have analyzed many different aspects of health care policy, you are better able to form a comprehensive evidence-based opinion on its effectiveness. The policy you chose to focus on, like all policy, as you now well know, is a conglomeration of many different facets. Each of those facets is integral to the policy’s success, efficiency, and value.
As a nursing professional and advocate for change, having an all-inclusive understanding of health care policy is extremely important. Nurses have a tremendous amount of untapped power to make positive changes. Your knowledge of policy is just a first step. With this new process of breaking down and analyzing each of the pieces of health care policy, you have added another tool to your toolkit.
To complete this Assignment, consider all of your findings from the Discussion in Week 1 and the Assignments in Weeks 2 and 3. Analyze your research on the policy, including costs, quality, and/or safety issues.
Address the following:
1. Introduce the topic by drawing from your previous work. Introduce the policy by providing an overview of the suggested or implemented policy: background of the topic, including main elements of the policy, costs, and quality/safety. Assert your main thesis statement.
2. Offer an evidence-based, informed opinion in support of the suggested or implemented policy. Describe at least two major contributions that this policy makes to health care, nursing, or health outcomes. Provide support with at least three sources of evidence.
3. Discuss at least one opposing opinion to the suggested or implemented policy. Provide evidence and/or data to support the counterargument.
4. Present a final position on the policy. Support the final defensible argument with current literature.
A. Restate your argument.
B. Provide a plan of action, but do not introduce new information. In total, your paper will be 4–pages in length, not including the title page or reference page.
Mason, D. J., Dickson, E., McLemore, M., R., & Perez, G., A. (2021). Policy & politics in nursing and health care (8th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
• Chapter 6, “A Primer on Political Philosophy” (pp. 45–51)
• Chapter 73, “Where Policy Hits the Pavement: Contemporary Issues in Communities” (pp. 562–570)
• Chapter 74, “An Introduction to Community Activism” (pp. 571–579)
Glen, P. J. (2013). Health care and the illegal immigrant. Health Matrix: Journal of LawMedicine, 23(1), 197–236.
HealthyPeople.gov. (2016). Determinants of health. Retrieved from http://www.healthypeople.gov/2020/about/foundation-health-measures/Determinants-of-Health
Lang, K. P., Veazey-Morris, K., Berlin, K. S., & Andrasik, F. (2016). Factors Affecting Health Care Utilization in OEF/OIF Veterans: The Impact of PTSD and Pain. Military medicine, 181(1), 50-55.
Position Paper on Health Policy
The suggested policy is the Meaningful Use policy that promotes the use of certified Electronic Health Records. It was coined in 2009 under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The program was allocated $800 million to create jobs and boost economic recovery. Other roles included enhancing the physician’s efficiency and patient safety through access to patient data. The policy’s main elements include improving patient care, quality, safety, efficiency, and reducing disparities (Cohen & Adler-Milstein, 2016). The policy has three components, including using Electronic Health Record (EHR) in a meaningful manner, electronic health exchange to boost the quality of care, and using EHR to boost quality outcomes. The purpose of the position paper is to examine the contributions of meaningful use policy, the opposing opinion, and the final position.
Contributions of the Policy
The policy is effective since it improves the quality of care and reduces disparities in the healthcare system. It is important since practitioners strive to offer quality patient outcomes with minimal errors. Research shows that medical errors lead to a significant increase in readmissions, lengthy hospital stay, and complicated health conditions (Jung et al., 2017). All the objectives of Meaningful Use are achieved with the efficient sharing of data. According to the Center for Disease Control, the policy effectively improves safety, efficiency, quality, and eliminates medical errors. Another benefit of the policy is that caregivers have access to information at their fingertips (Jung et al., 2017). The availability of information makes it easy for healthcare workers to make quality decisions.
The exchange of data also occurs among the stakeholders of the healthcare system. Insurers, providers, and patients share information for better decision-making. The sharing possesses some risk due to the data’s vulnerability to theft (Kern et al., 2016). However, the policy argues that data security is one of the major tenets to uphold data integrity. It is thus a critical policy that the healthcare system should adopt. Additionally, sharing quality data is effective since it helps providers prescribe the appropriate medication to patients (Kern et al., 2016). The wrong prescription is one of the major causes of death, intoxication, and severe medical conditions. For instance, prescribing an overdose to a child can lead to severe health complications. Therefore, the policy is effective since it is patient-centric (Lammers & McLaughlin, 2017). It focuses on the welfare of the patients by enabling healthcare workers to deliver quality care.
Implementation of the policy has some challenges that can hinder all the benefits. One of the common challenges is that it requires a huge investment as a startup cost. A healthcare facility will require to install expensive software and systems for it to function (Rathert et al., 2019). Some healthcare facilities may not manage to buy all the systems. They may be forced to forego other critical activities to buy the systems.
Sharing the data on various systems can increase the risk of data theft or malpractices. Various healthcare workers have access to data, and thus unethical practices can emerge. For instance, some people have been charged for violating the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPPA) regulations (Rathert et al., 2019). The policy also puts the data at risk of cybercriminals. For example, some hospitals have recorded a massive theft of patient data. The data also comprises personal details, including contact, location, bank account, and social security number (Rathert et al., 2019). The events demonstrate that adopting the policy poses a huge challenge to the healthcare sector. Data is also exchanged among stakeholders in the healthcare system. Insurers, providers, and patients all share information to make better decisions. Because data is vulnerable to theft, sharing carries some risk (Kern et al., 2016). However, the policy contends that data security is a critical tenet of maintaining data integrity. As a result, it is critical that the healthcare system implement this policy. Furthermore, sharing quality data is beneficial because it allows providers to prescribe the appropriate medication to patients (Kern et al., 2016). One of the leading causes of death, intoxication, and severe medical conditions is the use of the incorrect prescription. For example, prescribing an overdose to a child can result in serious health complications. As a result, the policy is effective because it is patient-centered (Lammers & McLaughlin, 2017). It focuses on the patients’ well-being by enabling healthcare workers to provide quality care.
Providers may rely on information from the systems to make decisions. In some cases, decision support systems will rely on the available data. If the data is hacked, the provider is at risk of making the wrong prescription or diagnosis for patients (Cohen & Adler-Milstein, 2016). It will also place healthcare facilities at risk of lawsuits due to the high number of irregularities. Although hospitals and providers attempt to reduce the policy’s challenges, the complications always emerge (Cohen & Adler-Milstein, 2016). It is thus important for healthcare workers to consider the demerits associated with the healthcare policy
Meaningful Use policy is an effective healthcare policy in addressing major challenges in the healthcare system. One of the benefits is data available to assist the providers in decision-making (Jung et al., 2017). For instance, if a nurse prescribing medication to a patient has all the information, the wrong prescription’s risk is low. It is thus an effective framework that can save lives and reduce the cost of treatment. The patient can also be sure that all their data will be safely stored and retrieved (Jung et al., 2017). It is unlike a traditional filing system that could at risk of theft or fire. If the records of patients are lost, there is a risk of medical errors.
Healthcare workers, patients, and insurers can safeguard the data against theft. One of the solutions is to introduce data encryption technology. The encryption allows the safe sharing of data (Kern et al., 2016). Providers can also be sure of maintaining data integrity irrespective of how the people who access the information. Another solution is that healthcare facilities should introduce computer access protocols to safeguard patient data. One of the measures is restricting access to server rooms or computer databases (Kern et al., 2016). Access to the systems should also involve a double-verification procedure such as password, face recognition or fingerprint. The measures will ensure that people do not tamper with the patient data.
Healthcare providers cannot forego the Meaningful Use policy due to the few risks to the healthcare system. Healthcare organizations should aspire to develop solutions for all the challenges they experience in the healthcare system (Lammers & McLaughlin, 2017). It is also their responsibility to understand the complexity of cybercrimes and how it affects other organizations. The policy is thus effective in ensuring all patient information is available at the fingertips of healthcare workers. Data availability will lead to better decision-making and reduction of medical errors (Lammers & McLaughlin, 2017). Sharing of data will also ensure continuity of care if the caregivers change. For instance, if a healthcare worker is transferred, goes on leave or falls sick, the next provider can get all the information for effective decision-making (Rathert et al., 2019). Healthcare facilities can also share data, thus ensuring that patients’ transfer is smooth and leads to quality decisions and treatment.
Meaningful Use policy focuses on enhancing physician’s efficiency and patient safety through access to patient data. The policy’s core elements include improving patient care, quality, safety, efficiency, and reducing disparities. The policy is effective in improving safety, efficiency, quality, and eliminate medical errors. However, it requires a huge investment as a startup cost. The final position shows that the Meaningful Use policy is an effective healthcare regulation in addressing major challenges in the healthcare system. The policy is thus effective in ensuring all patient information is available at the fingertips of healthcare workers. Healthcare workers can, thus, make decisions that will support quality patient outcomes.
Cohen, G. R., & Adler-Milstein, J. (2016). Meaningful use care coordination criteria: Perceived barriers and benefits among primary care providers. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 23(e1), 146-151. https://doi.org/10.1093/jamia/ocv147
Jung, H. Y., Unruh, M. A., Vest, J. R., Casalino, L. P., Kern, L. M., Grinspan, Z. M., … & HITEC Investigators. (2017). Physician Participation in Meaningful Use and Quality of Care for Medicare Fee‐for‐Service Enrollees. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, 65(3), 608-613. https://doi.org/10.1111/jgs.14704
Kern, L. M., Edwards, A., Kaushal, R., & HITEC Investigators. (2016). The meaningful use of electronic health records and health care utilization. American Journal of Medical Quality, 31(4), 301-307. https://doi.org/10.1177/1062860615572439
Lammers, E. J., & McLaughlin, C. G. (2017). Meaningful use of electronic health records and medicare expenditures: Evidence from a panel data analysis of US health care markets, 2010–2013. Health Services Research, 52(4), 1364-1386. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jom.2018.06.003
Rathert, C., Porter, T. H., Mittler, J. N., & Fleig-Palmer, M. (2019). Seven years after Meaningful Use: Physicians’ and nurses’ experiences with electronic health records. Health Care Management Review, 44(1), 30-40. DOI: 10.1097/HMR.0000000000000168