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It has been acknowledged that there is a strong correlation between healthcare cost and quality. Researchers note that public as well as private healthcare agencies contribute to improvement of quality of healthcare services provided and reduction of costs (Barker & DeNisco, 2012). However, their effort and impact is quite different due to peculiarities of the two types of agencies. It is possible to examine the way particular agencies affect the development of quality of medical services to understand the difference between the role of private and public agencies in the process. The two agencies to be considered are Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (which is public) and Health First (which is private).
Roles and Activities of the Agencies
It is possible to note that the two agencies claim that they focus on development of healthcare system locally and nationwide. Thus, AHRQ (Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality) takes part in various projects and incentives that are aimed at research and development of healthcare in the USA (AHRQ annual highlights, 2013). For instance, the agency implements a wide range of researches that helps practitioners, patients, officials and other stakeholders and provides detailed information concerning the quality of healthcare services. One of such contributions is the AHRQ Quality IndicatorsTM Toolkit for Hospitals that helps hospitals to improve the quality of services provided. It is important to note that the agency operates nationwide and the information (results of surveys, latest news on research, funding and so on) is always available free online.
As for the private agency, Health First strives to contribute to development of healthcare services in Florida and especially in Brevard County (About us, 2015). The agency provides healthcare services (including some not-for-profit incentives) to people and keeps training its staff, and invests into research to improve the quality of services provided.
Current and Projected Initiatives
As has been mentioned above, both agencies take part in and launch various initiatives. For instance, the AHRQ issued a report on savings associated with the Affordable Care Act in relation to individual health insurance (AHRQ annual highlights, 2013). The report shows benefits of the act as well as its shortcomings. The report also contains certain recommendations. Admittedly, such surveys and reports enable officials as well as healthcare professionals to benefit from the act and implement the necessary changes. However, it is important to add that the agency has quite limited resources and cannot cover all spheres or have the necessary influence on policy makers. The agency depends on funding from the government and other organizations. This limits the reach of the agency and makes its incentives less efficient. It also has quite limited effect on costs as high-quality medical services remain quite costly and the agency can only partially (and quite insignificantly) reduce them through issues free reports and toolkits as well as various informative materials.
When it comes to the private agency, it has quite significant resources to invest into improvement of services provided. Patients pay for the services and this money (or rather a part of it) is allocated to fund research and training. For instance, the agency makes use of the latest technology and robotic arm has been successfully used (Health First Completes 1st Direct Anterior Hip Replacement, 2015). However, it is clear that the reach of this agency is limited to its facilities only. Since the agency is commercial, it is clear that it will focus on development of its own operations, as this will result in larger profits. Of course, the agency shares its ideas and participate in various projects that involve sharing experiences among healthcare professionals, but this seems insufficient. It is also noteworthy that the services provided by the agency are quite costly and even though it has many programs involving funding of people who can afford insurance, in the vast majority of cases the development of quality is associated with high costs.
Implications for Staff Nurses
It is necessary to note that the correlation between quality and cost of healthcare services has certain implications. First, when it comes to evidence-based practice, nursing staff are often unable to implement their own research and effectively implement the change due to scarce resources in both private and public agencies. Nursing staff’s incentives are often neglected. Thus, in private agencies, top management is often reluctant to fund some incentives, as this will mean lower profits in the short-term period. When it comes to public agencies, nursing professionals often share their ideas using these agencies’ platforms but these ideas are quite many and the agency cannot possibly invest time and funds into development of all of them. More so, the workload of nurses and quite low salaries do not motivate nursing professionals to be persistent and contribute to improvement of the quality of services provided.
On balance, it is possible to note that one of the major differences between public and private healthcare agencies is their outreach. Private agencies can reach only limited audiences while public agencies can often operate nationwide. It is also clear that although such agencies contribute to the search of new ways to improve the quality of healthcare services, these services are still associated with quite high costs.
About us. (2015). Web.
AHRQ annual highlights. (2013). Web.
Barker, A.M., & DeNisco, S.M. (2012). Advanced practice nursing: Evolving roles for the transformation of the profession. Boston, MA: Jones & Bartlett.
Health First completes 1st direct anterior hip replacement with robotic arm in Central Florida. (2015). Web.