The purpose of this dissertation shall be to evaluate the impacts that organizational leadership and organizational management have in international healthcare. The undertaking shall focus on both the leadership and management techniques showcased by various healthcare organizations in regards to a list of documented medical phenomena. Some of the issues under investigation include but will not be limited to: organ trafficking, organ transfer, bioengineering and bioterrorism among others.
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Data linking these issues to various management and leadership aspects shall be reviewed from relevant literatures and the ethical conundrums that may present themselves due to the existence of such issues within a given organization discussed. The steps that leaders should take to ensure that their organizations remain ethical and profitable in the competitive arena that is the medical sector shall also be highlighted.
The study will utilize the content analysis method of research to effectively provide answers to the following questions:
- Identify and analyze current phenomena in the international healthcare theatre?
- Why would internationals patronize U.S. healthcare facilities?
- How would internationals’ serviced locally, benefit communities like Pittsburgh, PA?
- What leadership strategies are needed to successfully lead such processes?
- How can financial profit be maximized nationally through international healthcare?
- With sensitive international healthcare agendas, e.g., organ transplants, what ethical conundrums will present?
- How should these ethical conundrums be processed and addressed as a leader?
Data collected will at the end help in establishing the extent to which leadership and management in international healthcare has been successful in fulfilling its duty all the while providing quality and affordable services.
Background of the Study
Health care is arguably one of the chief concerns of governments all over the world. All developed countries are characterized by having elaborate healthcare systems which are in place to ensure that majority of the population has access to medical care when they need it (Center for Bioethics, 2004). Inevitably, ensuring the health of a nation is a very expensive affair and this might be beyond the realms of most developing counties which are mostly burdened by the fundamental task of feeding and sheltering their people.
A question therefore arises as to whether the rich countries have a responsibility to help poor counties achieve better health. However, in the recent past, there has been a rapid emergence of various issues affecting the delivery of healthcare internationally. Healthcare critics argue that the leadership and management systems implemented by various health organizations determine the ethical and non ethical practices experienced in these organizations. To this end, it would be a worthwhile endeavor to delve into the various issues that have been raised and analyze how leaders can facilitate or mitigate their existence on the international scene.
Statement of the Problem
Majority of the population is greatly dissatisfied with the current healthcare system provided and the insurance schemes in particular. While an effective system can be deemed to be one which is efficient, acceptable and at the same time equitable, the current systems have been observed to be lacking in these attributes (Eastaugh, 2003). To this effect, the leadership and management of healthcare organizations have been under great criticism and pressure in regards to their policy on various issues affecting equitable and quality health provision.
This research will aim at evaluating various issues that affect international healthcare. An overview of the Post Modern Healthcare will be provided and the various challenges being faced by healthcare providers globally given. An evaluation of the international healthcare markets will also be discussed.
Post Modern Health care
As of today, most of the health care systems are characterized by being curative in nature. Zerwekh and Claborn (2006) asset that an ideal health care system should focus mainly on prevention, promotion of healthy living and the management of chronic ailments and disabilities. They describes the current population trend as one characterized by a large percentage of people over the age of 45 who are increasingly getting sicker more often than before.
Health care programs should focus on cost effectiveness and resource management to ensure that they meet the medical needs of the whole population. These programs require money for them to be implemented. As a result, consumers are forced to dig back into their pockets and pay for medical insurance covers which are very expensive. These bleak realities have contributed significantly to the high costs charged in healthcare organizations globally.
Similarly, the emergence of information technology has greatly improved the managerial and leadership capabilities of healthcare organizations today. Not only has IT improved the level of organization exhibited by the organizations, but it has also facilitated the speeding up of processes in the healthcare sector. The digitalization and off shoring of medical documents has further enabled patients to get the same quality of healthcare globally as they do in their host nations.
However, Schimpff (2007) states that the proposed $50 billion investment in digitalizing health-care records by American hospitals has raised tension since the completion of this program will inevitably affect the ability to win big contracts of various medical organizations. In addition, technology has also had some adverse effects on the healthcare sector. Bioterrorism (use of diseases to inflict fear among the population) has also been on the rise in various parts of the world leading to the deaths of millions of people.
International healthcare markets
Reid (2009) gives a detailed analysis of the American healthcare systems. In his analysis, he highlights the various aspects that have led to the increased cost in receiving medical care in the United States. In his book, the Author proposes various recommendations that can be implemented in the ailing American healthcare system to ensure that it offers quality and affordable healthcare to all patients. The author refers to Germany, Canada and Japan as great examples of nations that offer great medical services to all and at a reasonable cost. He proposes that America should adopt some of the policies implemented by these nations in order to ensure that more people come to get medical care from the States.
In addition, Zarocostas (2009) considers how rising costs of health care in rich countries is driving patients to seek treatment in developing nations. The report entitled ‘The Rise in Medical Tourism’ estimates that the global market in medical tourism will increase from $US60 billion in 2006 to $100 billion in 2012” (p. 3). This rise is triggered not only by the expense of health care in developed countries, but also by emerging countries investing heavily into medical tourism. In 2008, 700,000 Americans travelled abroad and spent nearly $35 billion on medical procedures.
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The acute shortage of available organs has led to a situation whereby majority of the people who need organ transplants failing or having to wait for long periods of times to get the organs. The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) which maintains a real-time database of the status of people awaiting organs reveals that over 106,612 people are currently on the waiting list for organs in the USA. Bearing in mind that an average of20 people die each day while waiting for an organ, it is evident that the current sources for getting organs are inadequate (Center for Bioethics, 14)
The lack of a legitimate market for organs has resulted in the increased suffering of patients and escalation of hospital bills. Mclaughlin, Prusher and Downie (2004) note that due to the shortage in organs caused by a lack of a market oriented means for acquiring the organs, many patients have to bear with painful medical procedures such as dialysis as they await organs for an indefinite number of years.
Some patients end up dying as they wait and the medical expenses reach an excess of $50,000 per year. This is far more expensive than an organ would cost if there was a legitimate market. As such, a legally regulated market for organs would not only decrease the unnecessary suffering in patients thus improving the quality of their lives; but it would also result in less money being expended to cover the medical costs that people have to incur while they await transplanting.
Schimpff (2007) seeks to explore how various institutions in the United Arab Emirate (UAE) have invested heavily in the healthcare sector. In his book, the author reveals how healthcare organizations can invest in other industries to make profits. He highlights how American hospitals make profits at the expense of their patients by overcharging them or providing low quality care.
However, Jones (2009) explores the impact of tightening credit markets and slowing investment on global healthcare projects with ties to U.S. partners. This shows the tremendous improvement and benefits that are bound to emanate in the U.S. healthcare sector. Such initiatives would ensure that the healthcare organizations remain profitable all the while providing quality and affordable services to the population.
Challenges of working in international health care
Due to globalization, people from various backgrounds have been forced to integrate in their search for better lives. This has resulted in the presence of communities characterized by a mix in cultures, norms and beliefs. However, individually, people have their perceptions regarding various issues. In regards to the hospitals, health care givers often face challenges regarding to language barriers, patient’s ability to read and write and differed perceptions in regards to medication and treatment procedures. However, Zerwekh and Claborn (2006) assert that all medical practitioners and healthcare providers should implement strategies to ensure that challenges emanating from multiculturalism are adequately addressed.
Black market organ trafficking
Reliance on human organ donations has proven to be unreliable but calls for commercialization so as to increase the demand have been refuted on mostly ethical and moral grounds. Due to the desperation that springs as a result of organ shortages, many wealthy people opt for buying the organs from the black market where priority is given to the highest bidder (Caplan, 2005).
Cleverly & Cameron (2006) report that some of these organs found in the black market are obtained through horrible means such as drugging unwilling victims and performing involuntary nephrectromy on them to obtain the desired organs. Reports of the illegal organ traders not paying the donors as promised are also rife thus highlighting the injustices that exist in an illegitimate and unregulated market.
As with most other professions, all healthcare practitioners are bound by rules and regulations that govern how they go about their duties. These rules and regulations are sometimes legally enforceable. Practitioners also face numerous ethical issues in the line of duty. While some of these ethical issues are resolved by following the set ethical standards and guidelines, others rely primarily on the practitioner’s principles and value system to be solved.
These values may sometimes not be in line with the legal obligations of the professional. Legal standards stipulate what is right or wrong according to the laws of the land whereas ethics are standards for professional behavior. Johnstone (2008) articulates that while ethical standards that hinge on personal beliefs and principles may suffice when caring for a loved one in a home setting, they may not be irrefutable when dealing with strangers in the work environment.
In light of the above discussion, the international healthcare sector is in need of transformational leaders. At the present, most economies in the world are working towards recovering from the credit crunch that hit almost all countries in the world. It is a reasonable assumption that most organizations were forced to make changes that included cutting on costs or laying off employees so as to remain profitable.
In such times, there is need for a flame of optimism to be fanned in the organization. Bolden et al (2003) state that an optimistic nature is one of the defining behaviors associated with a transformational leader. A person who can enthusiastically talk about the needs of the organization and draw a compelling image of the bright future that all in the organization can look forward to is capable of making a difference in the organization.
This paper set out to investigate what effective leadership and management consists of in international healthcare settings. To this end, the paper has highlighted the issues that affect the global healthcare sector and how best they can be addressed. To this end, the relevance of good managerial and leadership skills have been presented. The information compiled in this proposal has been instrumental in determining and outlining the various issues that I am bound to face in my career. As such, I have learned of the various objectives that have to be prioritized and the challenges that have to be mitigated. Such knowledge will not only help me set my career objectives but will also facilitate my efficiency as a future leader and manager.
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