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Health Care Delivery System

What is a health care delivery system?

A health care delivery system includes all the people, institutions, and services that assist in care coordination, patient flows, diagnosis, disease management, and promotion of health maintenance programs. It covers various service areas such as emergency, primary care, public health, rehabilitation, hospital care, mental health services, and specialized care. A health care delivery system can be classified as a single-provider service or a complex health system that meets the care requirements of a specific population. 

Health care organizations – like clinics, hospice care, and ambulatory care centers - comprise health care delivery systems that include human resources, physical assets, patients, financial organization, organizational culture, and system structure. Health care delivery systems can be structured as small-scale local or large hospital systems with their care processes, organizational capacity, financial and insurance programs, and health priorities. They utilize resources to engender positive health outcomes for well-defined communities or markets. Care programs are facilitated by specialized medical workers that deliver services based on internal codes and state regulations. 

Health care delivery systems are defined based on the mission statement, non-profit status, and public or private ownership. Earnings are produced for stakeholders, like for-profit systems, or for the organization, as in not-for-profit systems, and must meet the healthcare needs of existing populations. The delivery system, regardless of structure, manages finances in coordination with care processes, system complexities, and quality maintenance. This ensures the health care organization maintains quality health outcomes and patient safety. 

The following frameworks organize health care delivery systems

  • Organizational structure: Operations are conducted based on hierarchy and leadership. All elements that make up the organization follow the rules based on governance and procedure. 
  • Patients: Patients are based on the type of care they need and how health care organizations make decisions to deliver available health services. 
  • Finances: The delivery system organizes payments through programs, such as provider payment systems, to finance operations and allocate resources. 
  • Capacity: This includes all organizational assets – personnel, building conditions, and medical supplies – that influence service quality and ability to perform care routines. 
  • Service culture: Delivery systems operate on shared values that affect core service competencies, patient health benefits, and community guidelines. 
  • Care infrastructure: Health care services are evaluated and maintained through health information systems, standardized practices, performance indicators, quality management, and clinical decision platforms. 

What are the different types of health care delivery systems?

  • Managed care: These plans are arranged with a predetermined network of care facilities and providers to offer low-cost health services. Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) collect fees to connect patients with medical care practices. 
  • Concierge services: Patients pay a flat monthly rate to doctors willing to provide full access to their health services. Health plans can be customized based on demand needs.
  • Self-directed services: This includes programs like Medicaid and hospice care that allow individuals to make their own medical decisions. Patients can receive care based on the treatment needed and manage their services. 
  • Telemedicine: Patients use technology, like phones and mobile apps, to access care based on standard requirements or emergency needs. Medical care is managed through online platforms and electronic records, facilitating timely medical assessments. 

Health care delivery systems provide the following benefits:

  • Care for chronic illness: Health care workers provide care under the direction of an organizational infrastructure to identify health problems and implement protocols. They include self-care, e-mails, and follow-ups – to create service models that utilize the best methods for clinical oversight of chronic illness. 
  • Better public health: Health care is managed by frameworks that make access to services – preventative care, treatment facilities, and insurance coverage – easier. Delivery systems provide oversight of processes that enable consistent care and preventive services. 
  • Safety-net providers: Health departments and organizations can increase the availability of medical services for patients without health insurance. State and local governments fund public health initiatives to help at-risk populations access mental health hospitals, maternal services, and substance abuse programs. 
  • Advanced health management: Evidence-based planned care is used to deliver health services to patients with the illness. Health care is organized by patient need and resource attainment, helping direct clinical expertise to patients who need specialized medical support.
  • Supportive information systems: Physicians can provide appropriate care with the help of information systems that organize and analyze data from electronic health records. Health care workers can make specialized clinical decisions and provide managed care services based on relevant data from patient history.
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