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Among other issues, the healthcare services are also greatly affected by the globalization tendencies. The medical tourism becomes more and more popular as the developing countries start to offer high quality healthcare opportunities at lower costs. More than that, the international cooperation has resulted in the unification of standards in the area of medical care as well. Although these tendencies still are considered to be the novelties of our time, one can presume that soon they will significantly expand mainly due to the lowered costs, standardization, and certification in this sector. The presented paper, therefore, aims to identify the current state of affairs as the prospective for the future tendencies towards the globalization of the healthcare.
The Current State of Healthcare in the USA and Its Effect on the Patients
In order to better understand the global tendencies and the reasons behind them it is important to address the healthcare issues within only one country. First of all, it should be stressed that the healthcare system is far from the ideal one. Even the reform initiated by Barak Obama has not significantly changed the situation. Americans live less than the representatives of other nations. Slovenians, Koreans, Checks, and even Chileans live much longer in average (Brodwin, 2014). It is an exact indicator testifying about the inefficiency and problems within the system. On the other hand, the healthcare is among the most costs-consuming industries in the country. Approximately one fifth of the GDP is assigned for the purposes of the medical treatment of each patient (Brodwin, 2014). No other developed country spends as much as the USA does. It spends more than Switzerland, Germany or the Netherlands where the healthcare services are even better.
The third warning signal refers to the death statistics. As it turns out, the Americans still die from the illnesses that could be combatted with help of the proper treatment. For example, many Americans still face the fatal end in case they have asthma. Even the residents of Brasilia or Costa Rica, the developing countries, are treated better. Even those Americans who are admitted to hospitals can die after their admission.
Another important challenge that is currently faced by the healthcare policy-makers is that the healthcare services and their quality differ by skin color. Today, African Americans are more like to die from a heart disease or diabetes. The vaccination process is also far from ideal one in the USA as not many opt out for it. As a result, the preventable disease emerges again. Finally, the lifesaving drugs are often too expensive so that the majority of patients cannot afford them.
As it could be inferred from this passage the healthcare in the USA has a lot of disadvantages that basically force patients to look for other options overseas. The International Healthcare Sector
Basically, there are two main current trends in the international healthcare. First of all, the potential of international developments is huge. Secondly, through such evolutions more people have the access to the healthcare facility, which in average means the growth of life expectancy in the entire world.
The development of international standards and more advanced globalization can improve the quality of the healthcare worldwide. However, there are two key challenges associated with it. The standards frequently are too general to fit into the social, economic and political frames of the particular country (Matthews, 2005). The simple demonstrating of the compliance to the standards does not automatically guarantee the success of the healthcare system.
Another important question refers to the ability of these standards to guarantee the equal access to the healthcare worldwide. In terms of globalized standards the patient will obviously have a little role and impact on the way he or she is treated. Moreover, the standards might become too rigid over the course of years (Aron, 2009). Indeed, some of researchers and practitioners state that simple lowering of healthcare services will lead to the increased access to medical facilities. Nevertheless, this issue has to be adjusted to the countries involved in the standardization.
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In addition, from the ethical perspective, it would not be right to deprive local residents of their right to benefit from the healthcare in their country in favor to strangers coming from richer countries. The effect made on the employment issues in the country where the services are richer might also be negative. The reason is that the majority of clients will shift to the less developed states with cheaper yet quality services. Therefore, the issue of the international and globalized healthcare sector is extremely complicated due to several dimensions.
Outsourcing of Healthcare Services
Today, outsourcing of healthcare services applies mainly to the consultation and the conduction of surgeon operations. Currently, India breaks all the records considering the demand for its services. The main reason for the outsourcing is the low prices for the same proposals and quality. With the creation of international informatics centers, as well as the development of the multination corporate healthcare partnerships and private healthcare institutions operating worldwide, the outsourcing will become a common practice. The effects of such policies would be different. On the one hand, it will stimulate the development and enhancement of healthcare services in the country where the opportunities will be delivered. On the other hand, the impact it will have on local residents is also hard to anticipate. They might benefit from the quality of services. However, the prices for such proposals might also go up due to the increased international demand for them.
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Global Trends in Healthcare
The global trends in the healthcare sector are tied to national economies. The healthcare professionals move to the countries where they can get higher fees. The patients, in their turn, are looking for the cheapest options. The movement of healthcare professionals is frequently detrimental to the poor countries. Young professionals from underdeveloped countries migrate to richer states. Such a movement has been significantly promoted by the creation of the system enabling the diploma recognition. It especially concerns the case in Poland and the Czech Republic after their joining the European Union. The brilliant professionals coming from these countries seek the positions in Germany or the UK (Hodges & Brechat, 2005). On the other hand, the poorer states launch some educational programs taught in English to lure international students from richer nations.
The migration of patients is a more recent global trend in the healthcare sector. The countries try to lure them by a variety of attractions. Tunisia, for example, has held the conference to attract healthcare professionals coming from foreign countries. Nevertheless, one should keep in mind that the healthcare services could not be equaled to the goods or services that come through all over Europe or other economic zones. Therefore, the globalization in this area will be more specific and slow as well.
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The marketing of the global healthcare services is based on few strategies and key factors. First, the countries themselves promote their medical opportunities to the citizens of other states. They might even establish the agencies with such a purpose or the representatives among other nations. The embassies might also be helpful in this regard as they help the locals to obtain the necessary contacts or support in the foreign state. There are also online services that provide various opportunities ranging from the search of treatment options to the organization of medical trips to other countries. The media itself serve as a source of information and as a promotion tool. They frequently communicate the issues related to the globalization of the healthcare. The successful stories demonstrating the balance between the costs and efficiency in the medical sphere become viral and shared by the users of social networks.
Cultural Issues in the Globalized Healthcare
The management of the cultural issues in the context of globalization of the healthcare sector turns to be the most challenging one. The adoption of international standards means that the approach towards care will be the same in all the states that will support the initiative. Moreover, there is a threat that the physicians will not be capable of addressing the specific needs of patients in their workplace. Otherwise, on the other hand, they will simply demonstrate the compliance to the standards while actually they will still follow the previous procedures. Therefore, while adopting the standards the countries should either reach the consensus that would be in the interests of their patients or leave a room for the manipulations at the local level.