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Public healthcare is aimed at ensuring effective healthcare services to every individual living in a society. Main objective of this report is to provide a business plan for the chosen healthcare organisation NHS for implementing changes supporting current issues in the organisation. It has been identified that the organisation is experiencing difficulties in maintaining skilled staff and allocating proper services to the people in UK. Nevertheless, strategic action like telehealth has been found as a significant approach to improve healthcare service and make it available to every individual, especially elderly people. Several recommendations such as stretching data security have been identified in this report that can help in mitigating obstacles of the new business plan.
Health and social care sector is considered to be such organisations that deliver healthcare support to people. This report is going to discuss the internal and external environment of the National Health Service (NHS) system of UK. Several strategic options will be suggested to this healthcare organisation to deal with the weaknesses that the healthcare industry of UK is experiencing in current times. Moreover, a strategic option will be chosen for implementing recommendations for change. This report will also address some international and national issues in promoting public health. Finally, national healthcare policies or campaigns that contribute to the demand for healthcare will be highlighted in this report.
Internal analysis of any business refers to the internal factors which include the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, or threats the business has and external analysis discusses business environment for growth and development. Singh and Sayeed (2021) mentioned that internal analysis helps an organisation to learn about its internal environment which benefits the management to make strategic plans, execution processes and enhance decision making. External analysis is significant in delivering indirect or direct effects on business personnel, revenue, and operations. There are several strengths of NHS in UK market which include less presence of real competition, good relationship management with health community partners, continuous growth and development in services in this public healthcare system from the very beginning of its establishment. It has been found that NHS operates in a politically stable environment and develops its services through the taxes distributed by the government of the country (Publishing.service.gov.uk, 2021). Nevertheless, this healthcare system is experiencing difficulties in mitigating demand of its public in the country due to continuous increment in population. Moreover, bad attitude and behaviour of staff of this healthcare system to the patients has resulted in an increasingly negative reputation. Besides that, there is a shortage of medical staff and NHS is experiencing difficulties in recruiting medical staff.
In order to deal with difficulties experienced by an organisation, it is important to adopt appropriate strategic solutions. As NHS is experiencing difficulties in providing service to people therefore digital solutions can be a great strategy that is beneficial for coping with such difficulties. It has been found that public who come to take emergency healthcare solutions often have to wait for a long time to get relevant services. Hence, a strategic solution of including more digital signage can be incorporated by the healthcare organisation which can include calling customers using a ticketing system, displaying directions in big monitors that can help patients or patient families to lead to customer service counters as so on. It has been identified that the COVID-19 situation has created further pressure on the publicly funded healthcare system and it has continuously faced workforce shortage, shortage of beds, or diagnostic tools. Therefore, the healthcare system can discuss the situation with its employers as well as with the government to mitigate such issues. Furthermore, funding bodies of NHS should include best possible solutions for planning medical academic workforce in future (Bma.org.uk, 2022).
4. Policy solutions in relation to one aspect of health and social care
Healthcare policies and procedures are important for establishing guidelines that can benefit healthcare organisations, healthcare systems, and most importantly the patients. According to Larsen (2020) having appropriate policies in healthcare organisations can help in mitigating poor communication and human error surrounding medical decisions. In the context of improving healthcare services to the population several policy solutions such as developing telehealth services, making short-term plans, expanding direct medical services to specialists, improving budget in healthcare, delivering services to older populations with minimum cost can be practised in NHS. It has been found that the cost of treatment to older population in UK is about 7 times higher than the cost of treating adult population (figure 2) (Triggle and Butcher, 2020). As there is a rise in older population in UK along with increasing price of drugs, therefore it is important for NHS and the government to come up with a new policy that can deliver free or lower cost treatment to the population of the country along with enhancing telehealth services.
It has been found that UK spends less amount of its GDP on healthcare sectors compared to any other country in the EU. As a result, it creates issues like fewer specialists, nurses, or beds per person in the country and contributes to poor healthcare service to public. For example, it can be mentioned that nurses in Germany have almost twice the cost per capita compared to UK which has resulted in a skilled labour shortage (Triggle and Butcher, 2020).
According to Agbo et al. (2019) with the advancement of technology, a number of communications and technological tools have been implemented in the healthcare industry that helps in transferring patient information for appropriate consultation and recommendation in healthcare systems. Although digital transformation has been implemented in NHS to deliver healthcare services more quickly and easily to the population of the country, still it is important to make further development in this area so the elder population can be served appropriately (England.nhs.uk, 2022). Bajowala et al. (2020) mentioned that allowing digital services to patients works on reducing healthcare costs along with preventing diseases as in this process patients can be monitored every time. Moreover, not only the patients but also it becomes helpful for the healthcare service providers. Digital tools provide an opportunity for healthcare providers to have an extensive view of patients' health data and deliver services according to their needs which work on improving their efficiency. Therefore, it will be beneficial for NHS to implement and improve digital transformation strategy for delivering healthcare services to patients.
Digital healthcare services or telehealth has been used as an effective and sustainable solution during the global COVID-19 pandemic. It has worked on mitigating gap between physicians, people, and health system. Therefore, it can be stated that in this situation implementing telehealth on a larger scale can help NHS to support more people, especially the targeted audience of older age group, along with gaining competitive advantage compared to competitors present in UK market.
In order to appropriately allocate telemedicine service, NHS first needs to define its reasons for implementing such programmes and goals that it wants to achieve through the implementation. After establishing strategy a cross-functional team needs to be gathered by the healthcare organisation which may involve staff, service providers, or required services from other businesses. For example, NHS might need to recruit new staff who are digitally educated and have knowledge of using digital tools and technologies used to provide services or record patients' health data. Along with the growth of the concept of telehealth, several rules and regulations have been set up with it that are important to mitigate improper exploitation. Hence, NHS must look for the policies and principles regarding telehealth that are there in UK. According to Abdullah (2020), an appropriate business plan is important for entrepreneurs for focusing on relevant steps that are significant for making business ideas succeed. In this new plan of NHS, it is also required to partner with technology companies that will support a new approach of delivering healthcare services by considering ease-of-use, branding, security, and reimbursement authentication.
The benefits and opportunities of telehealth need to be discussed among patients as well as staff to maximise the efficiency of this programme. For implementing this strategy on a larger scale NHS can rely upon cloud-based solutions. Finally, it is important to gather feedback from staff and patients about the service and measure performance based on the goals in the business plan.
In COVID-19 era online health services have supported people's lives and reduced the chance of transmission of the virus from patient to physician for physicians to patients. Romanick-Schmiedl and Raghu (2020) mentioned that all the services included in healthcare such as collecting patients' blood, imaging test, diagnosis that requires hand-on-approach can not be performed remotely. Therefore, the practitioners can be recommended to deliver digital services only to those patients who did not need such tests. Moreover, telehealth is often concerned with issues like exploitation of personal data of patients. Therefore, while implementing this strategic action it is important to follow data security act and regulations of the UK government to securely store personal data and information of patients. In today's time, only a few insurance companies are covering cost of telehealth services. Hence, it would be recommended to increase more such insurance options for patients while taking online health services that can attract them toward the service. Staff performing in healthcare industry often get nervous while working with new technologies. Therefore, NHS can be recommended to deliver educational training to its staff to improve their efficiency and contribute to quality service.
Social issues in promoting public health
Both social and political issues are rampant, which obstruct promotion of public health in United Kingdom. One of the concerning social determinants is inadequate knowledge and awareness of e-Health literacy, which effectively reinforces public health (Levin-Zamir and Bertschi, 2018). Technological advancement is crucial to empower people while actively engaging in self-management of health and social care. Lower intention to use e-health is also noticed across borders, which demands policy makers’ encouragement to use technology in health and social care. Thapa et al. (2021) propounded that professionals in Saudi Arabia often exhibit poor willingness to adopt technology in health care, which hinders patient-centered care along with promotion of public health. Apart from substandard technological awareness, lower acceptance of use of technology impede promotion of public health with regard to people's intention to use applications. For example, detecting and preventing diabetes has been a positive intervention to promote public health. However, perceived privacy risks due to technology alleviate healthcare practitioners’ and patients’ intentions to use technology (Zhang et al. 2019).
Political issues to promote public health
Promotion of public health calls for major policy reforms. Robbins (2019) argued that despite countless reforms, NHS has failed to address issue of health and social care inequalities due to political issues of economic disparity. Lack of support and interventions across borders have impeded promotion of public health. Moreover, socio-economic inequalities are not retorted with effective interventions and policies, which lead to unequal exposure to various risks in high-income economies (Thomson et al. 2018). Thus, inequalities result in unequal promotion of public health, leading to poor health and social care outcomes.
According to Ostaszewski (2020) several countries are focusing on promoting health which is important for reducing risk factors related to chronic diseases, fostering lifestyle of the population, and enhancing use of healthcare facilities. Healthcare promotion is beneficial in increasing awareness among people regarding health complications along with reducing human and financial burden that government, state, individuals, or families spend on medical treatment. For old people, health promotion is beneficial for improving their quality of life. There are several activities that work on increasing health promotion which includes education, communication, and making healthcare policies. Through communication awareness regarding living a healthy life is spread among people by using newsletters, health fairs, and so on. On the other hand, health education delivers knowledge and contributes to behaviour change among patients. It has been found that health care policies related to use of tobacco and alcohol uses, exercise time is essential to increase awareness among people and enhance healthcare demand.
In order to change health behaviours among mass population, media campaigns have been used by healthcare sectors and governments of several countries. For instance, many low and middle-income countries are using social media campaigns for increasing awareness among their people as most of the people are connected with social media (Hagg et al. 2018). It has been found that social media like Facebook, Youtube have been used rapidly for improving public health education at the time of public health crisis. According to Thomson et al. (2018), high-income countries like USA, UK, Sweden have used healthcare policies to support the health of their population. It has been identified that health policies used by these countries have shifted health risks of the population by addressing underlying economic, social, and environmental conditions of populations. Healthcare campaigns like Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan have been used by Indian government to support health of lower to middle-class population of the country (Nhm.gov, 2022). Apart from that healthcare campaign of USA Building A Better Healthcare System can be mentioned that focused on keeping people at the center of healthcare system (Weforum.org, 2020).
This report has concluded the significance of implementing appreciated strategies to deal with weaknesses in NHS. It has been found that the increasing elderly population and lack of appropriate service is an issue in NHS which can be recommended with improving remote healthcare practice in the public healthcare organisation. As technology adoption has increased among population due to COVID-19 and introduction of new technologies, therefore, adopting such a strategy can be appropriate for NHS. Several political and social issues have been identified in this report that creates issues in promoting public health. Finally, campaigns and policies used to promote public health in international countries have been found in this report.
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