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Economics of Healthcare

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Economics of Healthcare

Instructions

During the COVID-19 pandemic, people saw major disruptions to supply lines throughout the country. Nowhere was this more evident than in the healthcare industry. Among the biggest impact was the disruption in supply lines related to personal protective equipment (PPE) and patient care needs (e.g., beds, ventilators, and medications). Use your text as a resource to complete the following assignment as well as one other resource from the library. Please cite your sources.

Describe the concept of supply and demand and how it relates to the provision of healthcare. Once the concept of supply and demand has been explained as it relates to healthcare explain how the pandemic contributed to major shortages of needed supplies and equipment. Imagine yourself as a leader of a provider group of some type (e.g., surgery center, orthopedic group, general practitioner’s office). Indicate some of the supply shortages that your group may see in a similar scenario in the future. How can these be offset or averted? Determine a strategy that healthcare leaders can implement to avoid supply chain disruption in the future.

Answer

The COVID-19 pandemic affected the supply and demand of the healthcare industry in multiple ways. This led to disruption of how services are offered in the health sector. There was a shortage of essential equipment such as ventilators and personal protective equipment (PPE), among others (HICKS, 37). This paper discusses the concept of supply and demand and how it relates to the provision of healthcare and giving a personal opinion of the supply shortages that might happen in the future in a situation like COVID-19 and the strategies that need to be set to avoid this.

 The demand and supply patterns, either weekly or seasonally, allow one to have efforts that remain focused. This is vital as it is needed to shape the demand for it to match supply within the healthcare (HICKS, 77). Making sure that there is improved access happens when there is equilibrium in demand and supply. This means that there will be no backlog and delays in providing equipment and services to the patients (Brown, 87). The gap that happens between demand and supply leads to delays in meeting the needs of patients and can generate waste within the system and remain expensive. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many healthcare providers showed that demand is not only insatiable but predictable (HICKS, 101). This means that the demand for the provision of ventilators, PPEs, and medicines can be predicated well based on the population that will be served and the style that the providers are going to apply.

During the time of demand fluctuations, these changes can be anticipated. This is done based on a good analysis of information collected as per the request of the system (Brown, 91). Demand in the healthcare sector remains relatively inelastic. This means that if a patient is sick and needs care, then healthcare services are purchased at any price offered through one’s income limits. On the other hand of supply, here what is discussed is the output produced through the production function that applies capital, labor, and all the needed inputs (Brown, 93).  These are the ones that affect supply in the healthcare section. During the period of COVID-19, this has played a vital role in dealing with the pandemic as they are the ones that have contributed to shortages of the equipment and supplies needed to save the patients (HICKS, 121). Demand and supply need to remain at equilibrium to make sure that everything is working well and there are no shortage of vital products such as PPEs and beds in hospitals during times of pandemic (Brown, 103).  When this is done, then it becomes easy for any operation within my group to work as needed as all the equipments and materials needed are available at the time they are needed without fail (HICKS, 141).  This offers excellent service delivery to the clients.

As a general practitioner’s office leader, during the pandemic in my group, we encountered very many supply shortages (Brown, 109). Some of the shortages that we encountered included the inadequate provision of PPEs and beds. This happened due to the increased number of patients who were visiting our health care facilities. If not looked at, all these shortages can still happen in the future in a scenario like this. However, there are different ways through which those shortages can be averted. Some of them include ensuring that enough products will do so without delay when needed to deliver the PPEs (Brown, 111). Also, health facilities should make sure that they have enough space to offer the needs number of beds to accommodate any extra patients in case one of COVID-19 happens again. The solutions to these shortages as the leader of our group need to be dealt with and prioritized as when they are followed, and then we should be able to do our daily services to the patients without fail (HICKS, 132).  It is evident that group leaders should look for ways of improving the way they offer services to their clients as through doing so, it is the only way to achieve their goals and objectives.

There are many strategies that healthcare leaders need to put into place to avoid supply chain disruption in the future (Brown, 127). The strategy that will be discussed in this case is making sure that the leaders implement good stockpile inventory. Here, the idea of using good inventory to manage any disruptions in the supply chain remains one of the simplest (Brown, 107).  Maintaining inventory level of vital products or components higher than the operationally is critical gives buffer against latent disruptions. Stockpile size must remain carefully balanced with the anticipated duration and frequency (Brown, 131). In this case, a frequent event with a short period, such as the failure of machines, can be corrected and managed by carrying a higher inventory level. When applying this strategy, leaders must consider its location and the strategy of replenishment. Stockpile inventory must be stored and located so that it stays ways from the counteracting risks (HICKS, 144). Likewise, at and after the disruption, an exemplary method should be put into place to replenish the stockpile for the healthcare sector is not exactly exposed to other risks during the recovery period (HICKS, 139).  Through doing so, then future supply chain disruption would be avoided as everything will be under control (Brown, 109).  Therefore, the healthcare leaders must make sure that the strategy they come up with is fully implemented without fail.

Summing up, the paper has clearly explained the concept of demand and supply and how well it relates to healthcare provision. This is regarding the COVID-19 pandemic that showed a shortage of PPEs and hospital beds. The strategy needs to be implemented well, as when it is not, the future supply chain disruptions will remain disrupted. It will affect the delivery of services within the healthcare sector every time as no solution is made. Therefore, the healthcare sector of every country across the globe needs to make sure that they come up with strategies that will make them avoid any future supply chain disruptions in a scenario where a pandemic like COVID-19 happens again.

Works Cited

Brown, Heather. The Economics of Public Health: Evaluating Public Health Interventions. , 2018. Print.

HICKS, LANIS. Economics of Health and Medical Care. Place of publication not identified: JONES & BARTLETT LEARNING, 2020. Print

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