Analysis: Impact of Health Policies on Healthcare Organizations and Systems

Himmelstein & Woolhandler (1990) are among the earliest sociologists and researchers to investigate the effects of health policy on healthcare organizations and systems. The authors note that healthcare has undergone many changes during the last few decades, and rather than provide humanitarian services, most healthcare policies and regulations now favor scientific and economic services or results rather than good medical care. Theoretically the authors suggests humanitarian concerns should be bold and prevalent in any healthcare organizations policies. Such policies should provide guidance for the care of patients, and the manner in which organization is communicated to patients and between healthcare professionals, an idea that is supported by other researchers including Hancock (1999) and Lee, Buse &Fustukian (2002). The policies and procedures should include guidance about the hierarchy in the healthcare organization so subordinates know who to turn to in the event of problems.
Himmelstein & Woolhandler (1990) take a Marxist view of healthcare policy creation, suggesting healthcare as a system has become capitalistic in nature, which is not congruent with current humanitarian preferences among members of the medical community (p.14). They suggests "small scare owners like doctors" initially cam to "workshops (hospitals)" to provide healthcare for individuals in their community. However thanks to the emergence of technology, which increased the "power" of healthcare systems, today the "increasing of accumulation of capital" is of more concern than the doctors and patients they treat (p.14). This is because many policies in the healthcare system focus on economic factors, like conservation of supplies, or reduction of staff to keep overhead costs low, especially as healthcare insurance costs rise and fewer people have the means with which to pay for healthcare services (Himmelstein & Woolh…

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