We live in a world where everything is changing and improving rapidly. Health care is one thing that has changed for the better. New improvements to health care are being made every day among technology, medicine, and even health insurance. The average life expectancy has increased significantly over the last 100 years. One hundred years ago the overall average life expectancy in the United States was approximately 50 years old (Wikipedia, n. d. ). Now, the overall average life expectancy is approximately 78 years old. One of the biggest reasons for this is health care innovation.
Not only has the progress of technology and medicine raised this number, but insurance has a lot to do with this also. With the many different types of insurances that are offered today, people can get the care that they need. Years ago there was no health insurance. People would visit a doctor and pay just a couple of dollars, or pay with food. Many people would not even go see a doctor simply because they could not afford to pay. Now, healthcare is one of our biggest debates. Essentially there are two types of healthcare insurance, Fee-for-Service and Managed Care.
Both cover medical, surgical, and hospital expenses. Most cover prescription drugs and some offer dental coverage. With today’s economy, many American’s depend on Medicaid or Medicare for their healthcare needs (Progress in Insurance, n. d. ). The Obama Administration has set up healthcare exchanges under a new 2010 law. State-run exchanges will be launched in 2014, which opens a marketplace for private insurers to compete to offer health plans to the uninsured and to small businesses.
If a state has not established a framework for the exchanges by 2013, the federal government will step in and run it (The Wall Street Journal, 11-29-11). This has become one of the biggest debates, other than the unemployment rate, during this election year with the presidential campaigns. Medicine has grown tremendously. In the old days, people would always receive an antibiotic shot with the same needle. People used home remedies such as: turpentine and sugar (now it is said that turpentine will kill you), sweet oil in ears for infection, milk weed for warts, lye soap for lice, and for a fever you were rubbed down in rubbing alcohol.
There were no tetanus shots. Most people just soaked an infected area in epsom salt. Now, doctors usually only give antibiotics when absolutely necessary, there is laser treatment for warts, lice shampoo, and we now have tetanus shots. The medical device industry has brought us tremendous advances to the practice of medicine in recent decades, ranging from CT and Magnetic Resonance Imagining (MRI) machines, to laboratory diagnostic instruments and pacemakers.
Much of our modern medicine relies on 3D imaging, which is fairly new (Progress in Medicine Staff, 6-6-12). Many years ago, ultrasounds, CT scans, and radioactive/nuclear medicine for PET scans did not exist. They did have X-rays, but very poor images. Now, there are CT scans, PET scans, MRI machines, and X-rays are much more enhanced and show radiologists a great deal of information. Technology in health care has come a very long way, and continues to excel.
The only negative impact that health care innovation can have on patients is costs. This could include doctor’s fees for treatment, or even copays and medicine. With the new technology, this makes health care spending go up. Therefore, this makes the costs of care that patient’s need go up. There are still people who cannot get insurance for different reasons. Some people may make just a little too much money to receive an insurance offered by the government, and others may just simply not be offered insurance by their employer.
Overall, health care innovation has had a positive impact on patients. It is a natural part of life to grow. Things are always going to get bigger and better, they always have. There will always be a new, better way to do things. Insurance, technology, and medicine will continue to grow, and the improvements will benefit the patients. References www. wikipedia. com. www. yahoo/progressinmedicinestaff. com. The Wall Street Journal, June 6, 2012. www. yahoo/progressininsuranse. com.