Many theoreticians and practitioners of health care, along with patient advocates are currently emphasizing the need to shift from a provider-centered model to the one, which will concentrate on patient’s wellbeing (Earp, French& Gilkey, 2008, p.241). Such a need puts healthcare industry under significant pressure to demonstrate continuous improvement of quality of provided services (Lloyd, 2004, p.11). In this regard it is worth referring to the need to develop an understanding of what the term “quality” actually means and which aspects may be considered within its scope. Lots of definitions of quality exist. However, for the purposes of the following assignment, we would like to concentrate not on the notion of the quality of services itself, but the issues, which tend to testify to the existence of quality problems. Among them the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality of U.S. Department of Health& Human Services names variation in services, underuse, misuse and overuse of services.
Overuse of services usually deals with the fact that patients receive drugs or treatment without proper medical justification. One of most wide-spread examples in this regard is related to prescription of antibiotics in cases, when the intervention does not require them being used. Overuse of antibiotics is typical for pediatrics (Offit, Fass-Offit, Bell, 1998). Antibiotics abuse can be defined as important healthcare problem due to the combination of reasons. First of all, in some cases antibiotics can become a cause of severe reactions. For instance, fluoroquinolones, which is included in great number of antibiotics, often causes adverse reactions, which are often misdiagnosed as central nervous system issues or even psychiatric problems. Diagnostics complications and the need of serious interventions in antibiotics-overuse cases bear severe burden on the U.S. health care system. Secondly, it is worth mentioning that overuse of antibiotics is likely to result in such consequence as the development of antibiotic resistance. Antibiotics resistance can be hardly combated and, therefore, represents a crucial risk factor for the patient. Moreover, exactly as growing spread of antibiotic adverse reactions, growing number of antibiotic resistance cases create extra burden for the healthcare system as a whole.
Different ways to combat antibiotic overuse may be singled out. It is important to understand that patients often use antibiotics without prescription or force doctors to prescribe them antibiotics as they believe in their extreme effectiveness. Thus combating antibiotics misuse must include public awareness campaign, which will be aimed at, first of all, making potential patients aware about purposes of antibiotics usage, most common cases of overuse and related consequences. Special attention must be paid to explaining to people how to deal with majority of viral infections without antibiotics and which alternative remedies and natural supplements can help avoiding inappropriate usage of antibiotics. For the purposes of the social campaign under study it is crucial to conduct more profound research and single out most common cases of inappropriate prescription of antibiotics.
“ For people of different gender and ages, which medical conditions are most commonly characterized with inappropriate usage of antibiotics and/or result in adverse reactions to antibiotic or antibiotic resistance?”.
Agency for health care research and quality (2013). Improving health care quality. Retrieved 06 September 2013 from http://www.ahrq.gov/research/findings/factsheets/errors-safety/improving-quality/index.html
Earp, J.A.L., French, E.A., Gilkey, M.B. (2008). Patient advocacy for health care quality. Strategies for achieving patient-centered care. London: Jones and Burlett Publishers International
Lloyd, R.(2004). Quality health care: a guide to developing and using indicators. London: Jones and Burlett Publishers International
Offit, P.A., Fass-Offit, B., Bell, L.M. (1999). Breaking the antibiotic habit: a parent’s guide to coughs, colds, ear infections and sore throats. London: John Wiley& Sons