Curation Project: Current Affairs, Health Care
The digital curation process is necessary in order to provide students and professionals with the ability to establish and develop information depositories of digital assets for current and future uses. One of the most effective ways to develop information depositories of digital assets is to curate, synthesize, and analyze digital media sources pertaining to current affairs within the country of Australia. After exploring various digital medial sources over the last five weeks, it has been concluded that one area of current affairs that presents many issues and much debate is the health care industry. Three digital assets have been curated that pertain to those working in and serviced by the healthcare industry in the country of Australia. These digital assets come in the form of television interviews, newspaper stories, and blog articles.
The first digital asset that was curated is a digital newspaper article written by Melissa Davey from the Maribyrnong Weekly on September 22, 2012. The article titled “Doctors Forced to Endure Outbreak of Patient Abuse” discuses the growing trend of abuse experienced by physicians and healthcare workers in the country of Australia (Davey, 1). According to Davey, three quarters of the physicians and professionals working in the Australian healthcare industry are exposed to and must endure the physical and/or verbal abuse of patients on a regular basis (1). A research study by Danny Hills reveals that all levels of physicians and clinicians have been equally impacted by the growing trend (Davey, 1). However, female professionals are more likely to experience patient abuse than male counterparts (Davey, 1). This is a critical issue that must be addressed immediately within the country. Failure to due so will result in negative implications on a legal, social, and economic level. According to Davey, if unaddressed, the high prevalence of abusive patients will compromise quality of care, worsen personnel shortages in the healthcare industry, and increase the legal liability of healthcare facilities (1). Failing to address this issue could also create additional pressure on the national healthcare budget and increase training and development costs within Australian healthcare facilities (Davey, 1).
When analyzing the digital newspaper article by Davey, it has been concluded that the growing trend of abusive patients is a critical issue that must be addressed immediately by the government as well as the healthcare industry. Because of the negative outcomes that will be experienced and the critical nature of this trend, it places a tremendous amount of pressure on these parties to generate an effective solution in an efficient manner. The article by Davey provides some strategies that can be implemented by the healthcare industry that could be used in managing abusive patients (1). The measures include additional training and development, the implementation of new security measures and security policies, and internal notification systems for patients prone to abusive or violent behaviors (Davey, 1). Although these strategies are believed to be effective in the management of abusive patients, more needs to be done by researchers, the government, and the healthcare industry in order to prevent and mitigate this growing trend. Simply, the Australian government could implement new laws and regulations protecting physicians and healthcare professionals from abusive patients. Researchers and professionals in the healthcare industry could conduct research to determine why and how the amount of abusive patients has increased. Finally, the healthcare industry can make changes to the healthcare environment to reduce the pressures that are experienced by physicians, patients, and other staff members (Davey, 1).
The second digital asset that was curated is a blog article posted by Thierry Geufroi on the popular blog site Scoop It. The article titled “Australia Desperate to find 100,000 Extra Foreign Healthcare Workers over the Next 15 Years” discusses the pending labor crisis that the Australian healthcare industry is facing and will face in the future (Geufroi, 1). This blog article was posted on September 22, 2012. According to the blog article, over the next 15 years, the Australian healthcare industry will need to employ over 100,000 foreign workers in order to keep up with patient demands and maintain the high quality of health that is expected from the industry (Guefroi, 1). In addition to physicians and nurses in the area of general practice, Health Workforce Australia is desperate to hire and retain healthcare professionals in the areas of radiology, psychology, and obstetrics (Guefroi, 1). Foreign workers are strongly desired by Health Workforce Australia because the government agency has reached the conclusion that the country does not posses the human and academic resources needed to procure and train the amount of healthcare professionals that will be needed in the future (Guefroi, 1). The government agency may need to create new strategies that promote the emigration of healthcare professionals into the country. This is considered to be a critical issue in the country of Australia because if unaddressed, it will have negative implications inside and outside of the healthcare industry.
When analyzing the blog article posted by Guefroi, it has been concluded that the labor shortage in the Australian healthcare industry is a critical issue that must be addressed. Failure to address this issue will have negative consequences in terms of quality of care, patient access to care, and the quality of life within the country. It can also be argued that if the labor shortage is not addressed immediately, now and in the future, the healthcare industry will be exposed to adverse working conditions, higher employee burnout rates, additional operational or legal costs, and higher employee turnover rates. Although it is agreeable that this issue is critical and must be addressed immediately, it is not agreeable that all of the 100,000 healthcare workers must come from foreign countries. In the blog article, it is stated that the country of Australia currently lacks the human and academic resources to procure and train the amount of healthcare professionals that will be needed in the future (Guefroi, 1). However, it is argued that within a 15-year time frame, it is a possibility to encourage students and young adults to pursue a career path in the healthcare industry. It is also a possibility for students and young adults to obtain the education and training needed in order to work in the healthcare industry within a 15-year time frame. Although all of these workers may not be able to be procured domestically, many could be. Ultimately, Health Workforce Australia needs to revise it strategy on the procurement of foreign workers in the healthcare industry and place a stronger emphasis on the training and recruitment of domestic workers.
Overuse of Antipsychotic Medication
The final digital asset that was curated was a television news interview conducted by Nicola Gage on September 24, 2012. This news interview was featured by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation or ABC and discusses the growing debate and trend surrounding over-prescription of antipsychotic medication within the country (Gage, 1). Several patients and healthcare professionals were interviewed regarding the issue. According to Eleanor Hall, each year, thousands of elderly people living in the country of Australia have been dying because of the overuse and over-prescription of antipsychotic medication (Gage, 1). A patient family member named Ruth that was interviewed insists that antipsychotic medication was responsible for turning her husband from a gentle man into an aggressive and abusive man (Gage, 1). Ruth’s husband was prescribed the medication to assist in treating his dementia. As result of her husband’s behavioral changes and the additional stress encountered surrounding the situation, Ruth has now been diagnosed with depression (Gage, 1). Also during the interview with Gage, Marie Alford, the general manger at Alzheimer’s South Australia insists that the rise in antipsychotic medication in patients is not only unnecessary, but also dangerous for patients, family, and the staff (1). Finally, Dr. Fasel Ibrahim, who works directly with dementia patients, is concerned why general practitioners have been provided with the authority to prescribe antipsychotic medications (Gage, 1). Dr. Fasel Ibrahim suggests that antipsychotic medications should always be the last option for therapy instead of the first (Gage, 1). Instead, all medical professionals should explore alternative treatments such as pet therapy, music therapy, laughing therapy, other forms of therapy, and medications that do not alter moods as aggressively prior to prescribing antipsychotic medications to a large range of patients.
When analyzing the television interview by Gage, it has been concluded that this is a critical issue for the government and the healthcare industry within the country of Australia (1). Based on the interview, patients in the country are being over-prescribed antipsychotic medications for no good reason. As a result of this, professionals working in the healthcare industry, patients, and families are experiencing negative outcomes. Although there is little debate that this issue needs to be addressed as soon as possible within the country, many inside and outside the healthcare industry debate who should be responsible for this issue and what can be done to address this issue. Some may argue that it is the responsibility of the healthcare industry to determine why these medications are being over-prescribed and what regulations can be implemented to reduce the occurrence. Others may argue that it is the responsibility of the government to intervene in order to reduce the prevalence and severity of this issue.
Failing healthcare standards
Failing healthcare standards in Australia is another current health care and health issues. In a study report public in the Medical Journal of Australia, researchers from New South Wales and South Australia universities have found out numerous shortfalls in the standards for patients visiting GPs and local hospitals. The research was aimed at finding out the percentage of Australian Adults were accessing appropriate health care. Metropolis, regional, and remote facilities were interviewed. The participants were 1154 patients of a mean age of 63 years out of which 58 per cent were female (Runciman et al. 102). The study reveals that 57 per cent of Australian patients received appropriate care in the years 2009 and 2010 (Runciman et al. 103). The worse part of the finding is that the 43 per cent of patients not receiving appropriate medical care suffer from common 22 common conditions including heart disorders, asthma, and two types of diabetes. Ninety per cent of the patient reported with sinus problems received antibiotic prescriptions that are ineffective for their conditions. High variable care and poor compliance with important health care indicators are identified by the research (Runciman et al. 104). The report suggests that consistent delivery of appropriate care needs to be improved by filling the gaps that exist in the system. They suggest standardized approaches and feedbacks within the system as the best way of improving the entire health care system so as to provide appropriate health care for Australian patients.
The Australian Prime Minister formed National Mental Health Commission to advice her on the state of Mental illnesses in the country and what mental reforms can be put in place. On the day before the release of the report by the commission, Michael Vincent secured an interview with one of the Janet Meagher on ABC, one of the Australian mental health commissioners and also has been living with schizophrenia and institutionalized for the last 10 years. Janet reveals that it is extremely difficult to get speedy, timely, appropriate mental health for mental health patients who if one are not a mental health client. She alludes this to mental health care system that runs on a rather crisis management instead of early intervention. Preliminary findings show that report high rate of incidences of mental illness in the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community (Vincent 1). Additionally, more than three million Australians suffer from health each year.
People who suffer from severe mental illness have their life expectancy reduced by 25 years. This is attributed to high likelihood of heart-related conditions, diabetes of obesity. This is revealed by Professor Fels during the release of National Mental Health Commission report. The commission reveals that the mental health services conditions are in appalling state and needs to be adequately addressed by the government. The report recommends that the government should increase access to home-based visits, provide local interventions, and minimize seclusion so as to reduce death of mentally impaired patients. At the same time, the report calls for increasing employment of mental patients (Davey 1).
Health care reforms
This article is posted in the Conversation blog that is an independent source of analysis, commentary and news from the university and research sectors. Usherwood articulates the need for reforms in the health sector. He acknowledges that that treatment of chronic lifestyle related diseases is effective in Australia. However, Usherwood notes that most Australians are missing out to the treatment due to cost implications. He refers to a survey report by Australian Bureau of Statistics that reveals that 9 per cent of adults fail to access treatment due to unaffordable cost. The problem is more rampant among the socioeconomically disadvantaged population.
According to Usherwood (1), the commonwealth government need to implement health care reforms recommendation by the National Health and Hospital Reform Commission (NHHRC). Among the reforms that are suggested include the need to have high quality primary care that is supported by medical specialists, nurses and other health care professional. Additionally, Usherwood is in support of NHHRC recommendation of introduction of rewards for good, quality, and timeliness care services. Usherwood (1) finds these reforms as necessary in reducing risks of chronic diseases and complications.
Doctors working hours
Hospital audit by Australian Medical Association published online by News.com.au, reveal that Australian doctors are working for long hours. The doctors working for longer periods are faced with dangerous risks fatigue and other sleep related risks such as car accidents. In one occasion a doctor worked for 120 hours a week which is very dangerous. The audit reveals that average number of hours worked by doctors in a week is 55.1 hours. Geoffrey Dobb, the vice-president of AMA observes that excess hours are likely to impair doctor’s judgement which may be detrimental. Dobb suggests that attitude shifts and better work roster can solve this problem without putting patient lives at risk (news. com 1).
Doctor competency checks
The Australian Medical Association has planned to oppose the planned competency checks on doctors by the Medical Board of Australia (Smith 1). The Medical Board of Australia is considering running a replica of United Kingdom system where doctors are required to go through peer review once in five years. The board has rejected the move basing on the best interest of the doctors
Health and obesity
Australians have overall improved in the improved in the last twenty years. The death rate from heart attacks and cancers has drastically fallen. This is information is contained in Australia Health report 2012, released by Australia instituted Health and Welfare reviewed by Sydney Morning Herald’s Mark Metherell health correspondent. The report, according to Metherell (1), shows that improving trends in the management of heart attacks and cervical cancer. Additionally, the report indicates that Australia is at the top in terms of life expectancy. However, rates of diabetes, chlamydia and common chronic diseases continue to soar. The rate of the prevalence of these diseases has doubled in the last two decades. At the same time, obesity problems have also persisted in the same period (Metherell 1).
In a move to combat poor oral health among low and middle income family in Australia is on the verge of being realized. In the report covered in the Sydney Morning Herald by Mark Metherell, the Australian government, through the ministry of health is rolling out $4 billion public dental services that are projected to begin in mid 2014. The arrangement will see 3.4 million children covered get treatment from public or private dentists. Ms Plibersek, the health minister confirmed that the previous scheme will be shut down as cost cutting strategy. At the same time, she confirmed that territories will be allocated funds to expand services for low income adults (Metherell 1).
Low socioeconomic Australians are under high threat of diabetes and heart diseases. According to Australian Diabetes Council one Aussie is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes ever five minutes. Nichola Stokes, CEO of the council notes that the cost of the type B diabetes stands at over $10.3 and calls on the government to take responsibility of health outcomes of the decisions they make (Herald Sun 1).
The breakthrough in frozen ovarian tissue procedures in Australia has given a clear indication that new fertility treatment is in the offing. The procedure is thought have potential in preserving the fertility of female cancer patients. A woman who underwent cancer treatment has managed to regain her natural ovulation after a tissue implanted. Gab Kovacs confirmed that the woman is now expectant and this breakthrough has an enormous potential for many cancer women in Australia and the entire world (Sky News 1).
The Australian heath sector faces a number of challenges. These challenges as outlined as conservatism whereby the delivery of health care remains unchanged. Additionally, ageing population, workforce shortages, rising cynicism and alienation within the workforce and work practices that are arguably too provider centric remain major challenges to the entire health care system in Australia. Finally, the inability to measure clinical outcome and patient satisfaction presents another enormous challenge to the system (Australian Health Information 1).
Acknowledging the challenges facing the health care sector in the country, health care professionals attended a workshop at RMIT University to discuss the opportunities and challenges facing female leaders in the health industry. The workshop, among other things, emphasized how best women could be contributing in the development of the industry. The workshop also discussed how health sector leaders can prepare for the future by creatively thinking of how best the sector can be managed in the future (RMIT News 1).
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