Characteristics of Health Policy

This short essay is under subject of health policy and planning. You have to talk about
some characteristics of health poicy and how it affect decision making.

Characteristics of Health Policy

A health policy is an instrument that a government or an organisation needs to
expedite health care goals and objectives. Health policymakers will take into consideration
the strategies and actions that will ensure that these goals have been realised within a specific
period of time. For this to be a reality, the following are some of the characteristics that must
be taken into consideration in developing a health policy.
Access

It is important to note that a country may have a terrific health care policy but fail the
test of accessibility. It is argued that the United States is one of the nations that enjoy the best
healthcare system but it is not accessible to all her citizens (McDonough, 1999). This could
be a major drawback in the realisation of goals. It is therefore important to put checks and
balance that are aimed at helping the process to be effective. One of these measures is
evaluation. Evaluation will always keep the system in check and constantly looking for ways
in which healthcare services can be made universal, meaning that everybody can access
healthcare at any given time. The policy must therefore show how evaluation will be
conducted in assessing the policy.

Cost

The economic inflation in most of the world economies has caused the rise in prices
of medical equipments and drugs, and this has also led to the rise in medical bills or charges.

CHARACTERISTICS OF HEALTH POLICY 2

For the policy to be effective, it must show how this challenge will be addressed and the
means by which these changes will be kept constant so that both the government and
healthcare stakeholders are able to arrive at a consensus on its sustainability. The other factor
to consider is that the policy must outline the priorities in terms of provision of healthcare.
For instance, the policy must be able to show the distinctiveness between private, public and
organisational policies. In addition, it must show how emergencies are going to be dealt with
and its cost implication (Feldbaum, 2009). Finally, it must indicate how technological
advancement will be integrated in healthcare provision and its cost implications, as well as a
proposal of how these changes will be achieved.
Quality

Another important characteristic of a healthcare policy is to ensure quality services
are delivered and maintained in healthcare profession. It is important to show how quality
will be controlled and the measures that will be taken to ensure consistency, from the training
of medics up to delivery of the same in health centres. The policy ought, therefore, to
elaborate how the vision of providing quality care will be achieved and how this achievement
will be sustained and how communication will be done in every level (Niessen et al, 2012).

Effects of policy characteristics on decision making

The above mentioned characteristics can be summed up into three main objectives of
healthcare, namely, provision of unbiased healthcare to all, cost effective healthcare and
quality healthcare services (Dudley & Luft, 1999). Therefore, this knowledge will affect the
authority to make decisions that rotate around the three objectives. For instance, one of the
decisions that can be made in line with quality is to ensure that the trainees access the best
education in college; and in line with accessibility, the policymakers may make a decision to
subsidise medical bills for a certain group of people who may not afford to get medical

CHARACTERISTICS OF HEALTH POLICY 3

covers. In other words, the characteristics of healthcare policy will influence the
policymakers to choose the right course of action.

References

Dudley, A. & Luft, H. (1999). Goals, Target, and Tactics: Making Cealth Care Policy
Decisions Explicit. Journal of Health Care Politics, Policy and Law , 705-713.
Feldbaum, H. (2009). A report of the CSIS Global Health Policy Centre. Washington D.C.:
Centre for Strategic & International Studies.
McDonough, J. (1999). Healthcare Policy: The Basics. Boston: The Access Project.
Niessen, L. et al. (2012). Assesing the Impact of Economic Evidence on Policymakers in
Healthcare – A Systematic Review. Baltimore: AHRQ publication.

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