Are We Doing Our Best For the Patients?
"Every country’s journey towards universal health coverage is unique. But in all countries, the key is primary care that delivers the services that people say they need, rather than the services someone else decides they should have." - Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, Director-General, WHO
These profound words make us reflect into the Indian healthcare system. Often decisions may be informed by ideology, economics, political timing, or any number of forces that may have little to do with what people actually need. As leaders around the world grapple with demands to deliver more and better health services, faster and more affordably, it is important to ask whether we are providing services that are appropriate, accessible, safe, clinically effective, and satisfying to the people using services and those delivering them.
To understand and achieve this, we need to ask the Five Rights: Are we delivering the Right Care, by the Right Provider, at the Right Time, in the Right Place, and at the Right Cost?
Deploying Nurses to Bridge the Gap
Speaking at the ICN Congress in Singapore in 2019, WHO’s Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus said, “We simply cannot achieve universal health coverage and the health-related targets in the SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) unless we empower and equip nurses and midwives, and harness their power.” His powerful words talk about a solution to bridge the gap. Nurses have solutions and can be utilized more effectively to help resolve the big challenges in health systems. However we must educate, regulate, deploy, support and reward them to lead that change.
Experts suggest that well-educated nurses deployed in the right numbers offer positive health outcomes across many settings, including morbidity and mortality outcomes. Nurse-led models of care have proven their clinical efficacy, satisfaction to the public, and cost-effectiveness when compared to traditional models. For example, nurse prescribing in the UK, the Royal College of Nursing found improvements in patient care such as timelier access to medicines and treatment, increased flexibility for patients who would otherwise have had to see a doctor, improved service efficiency that allows physicians to care for complex patients, diversion of avoidable emergency and hospital admissions, and better access to more streamlined and patient-centred care.
Thus, nurses’ leadership should be prominent in implementing the solutions for sound healthcare structure.
The Next Steps
In repeated polls in Canada and the USA over the past 20 years, nurses nearly always come out on top of the list of professionals most trusted by the public. This outcome is the result of
- Decades of hard work by professional associations
- Development of standards of practice
- Strong nursing education including a space for them to opt for advanced practices
- Strict nursing regulation
A model like this would revolutionize India’s healthcare system along with giver affordable and targeted care for individual patients. The way forward should place higher priority on public health, health promotion and wellness, and the prevention of illnesses and injuries. And for nurses to work hand-in-hand with top tier health care systems to effectively help deliver the right care in the right place and right time at reasonable costs.
Ms Jessica D Souza,
Chief Nursing Officer, Global Hospital, Mumbai
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article belong solely to the author. They do not reflect the opinions or views of the organization.