If we Google, the meaning of healthcare, it states “the organized provision of medical care to individuals and the community.” But can these few words really explain the real definition of healthcare?
Mother Teresa, the epitome of peace and sacrifice said “Before you speak, it is necessary for you to listen, for God speaks in the silence of hearts. Let there be kindness, in your face, in your eyes, in your smile, in the warmth of your greeting. Always have a cheerful smile. Don’t only give your care, but your heart as well”. This quote wholly summarizes the true meaning of nursing and the healthcare industry.
The healthcare industry is a vast industry that includes professions like the dentist, pharmacist, physiotherapist, dietitian, paramedic, biomedical scientist, physician, and surgeon. Surgeons and Physicians are highly demanded professions in this industry. This industry is the fastest growing industry which consumes 10% of the GDP of most developed nations.
There are three branches of the modern healthcare industry which are services, finance, and products. They are further divided into many other categories depending on the trained professionals to meet with the help of individuals and communities.
“Healthcare industry is a reflection of the country.”
To maintain the reflection of the country, they follow some protocols to uphold the discipline of this industry. Protocols are the guidelines or rules and regulations which need to be followed by particular organizations set by the government or any other international organization like WHO (World Health Organization) whose main objective is “the attainment by all peoples of the highest possible level of health.”
Why Protocols are Necessary for the Healthcare Industry?
Every year, 134 million adverse events occur in the world hospitals due to unsafe care, resulting in 2.6 million deaths. Unsafe care is one of the 10 leading causes of death and disability in the world. Major challenges for patient safety are unsafe care, medical practices, and risks associated with health care.
There are 3.9 million cases of Venous Thromboembolism (blood clots) that are the most concerning patient safety situations. Medication errors, unsafe surgical care procedures, diagnostic errors, sepsis, are some of the examples of unsafe care. Protocols are necessary to follow proper care of not only the patient but also the environment.
The protocols of the healthcare industry are categorized into three parts that are:
There are various kinds of waste generated by the healthcare industry such as blood, chemicals, medicines, needles, syringes, and radioactive materials. This waste if not disposed of properly can cause many diseases, infection, and toxic injuries to healthcare workers, waste handlers, and ultimately to the environment on a larger scale. That’s why it is important to follow protocols regarding the safe handling of waste at the point of generation only.
There are three environmental issues associated with the Healthcare Industry:
- Emissions to air
- Wastewater discharges
- Waste management
Merely 58% of countries follow the required procedure for healthcare disposal and many other countries either do not have policies or have policies that they do not enforce. According to the survey, 15% of medical waste is toxic and injurious. As estimated, 16 billion injections are used every year but not all needles and syringes are discarded safely which can cause injury and illness to health workers, waste managers, and the public at large.
Cytotoxic waste includes medicines in tablet, liquid, in cream, which leads to various effects like mutagenic and teratogen, etc. Radioactive waste is a hazardous waste that contains radioactive material. This waste can have short and long-term health damage. Therefore, protocols for the healthcare industry are significant to eradicate these health issues.
The safety of workers or staff is as important as patients and they too need protection from physical and psychological harms.
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), nearly two million American workers faced workplace violence. OSHA and other organizations are working towards other safety protocols that go beyond awareness for patients. Nurses working in psychiatric wards, emergency departments remain at high risk.
NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health) suggests steps that prevent violence at the workplace in the healthcare industry such as health training and health programs that involve management and employees.
Strategies for Applying Protocols in the Healthcare Industry?
The sectors which are covered under healthcare industries that follow these protocols are nursing homes, mental health, community health, residential homes, and social care. WHO stated some strategies that can be followed by simply publishing recommendations through marketing, advertising, educational tours, organizational approaches, and social interactions.
- Firstly, one strategy cannot be followed everywhere, it varies from organization to organization. Although the idea of implementation can be taken and molded accordingly, no strategy can be perfect as it has to be updated according to the requirements or changes.
- Secondly, feedback and reminders proved to be effective in changing test ordering behavior or implementing preventive steps. Different protocols take different implementation strategies.
- Lastly, the segmentation of target groups will be necessary for more effective results as different groups of healthcare workers face different obstacles. So, applying one way of implementing can be proved wrong.
Applying strategies is not a one-man work, as this needs proper identifying of obstacles, careful planning, implementation, and proper evaluation of changes and progress. It’s a stepwise process or cyclical approach that requires actual practice and maintaining consistency with the routine. We are seeing changes in public policies, and we’ll see changes in the implementation of medical treatment. The future of the healthcare industry is in the hand of artificial intelligence. Hence, the protocols also need to be changed accordingly in the coming future.