Patient satisfaction is the most important aspect of health care. The level of satisfaction a patient experiences while under the care of a physician or when admitted to the hospital relies on several factors. The most important factor is whether or not the patient received adequate care to treat his or her illness or injury.
Other factors to consider include the patient doctor relationship, the willingness of a doctor to try different treatment options and amount of information a patient receives concerning his or her care and treatment. The design of health care systems around the globe help determine the satisfaction a patient experiences in a specific country.
An analysis of the health care system in the United Arab Emirates will be compared to the health care system in Australia. Evidence will be offered to show why the health care system in the United Arab Emirates is the most effective.
The United Arab Emirates has a short history of having access to health care – only about twenty-five years (Harrison, 1996, 60; Margolis, et al, 2003, 241).
Therefore, patients in the United Arab Emirates do not have what is generally referred to as a primary care physician. Instead, they are seen by whatever doctor is on shift when they visit a health care clinic (Harrison, 1996, 60).
Further, male patients and female patients are segregated and are only seen by doctors of their same gender (Harrison, 1996, 60).
At the same time, it has been discovered that male patients are more satisfied with their medical care than female patients. Additionally, male patients were more willing to see the same doctor if the opportunity presented itself (Harrison, 1996, 60).
However, the majority of patients in the United Arab Emirates (81%) report being mostly satisfied with the availability and quality of health care (Harrison, 1996, 60).
Patient satisfaction leads to a better relationship with doctors which can result in better health care (Margolis, et al, 2003, 241). This is particularly important in a developing nation such as the United Arab Emirates.
As a result of an improving health care system, the life expectancy has increased in both males and females (Bener, et al, 1993, 444). At the same time, deaths from infectious disease have decreased (Bener, et al, 1993, 444).
One main contributing factor to both of these issues is the increase of immunization in babies under the age of one (McIlvenny & Barr, 1999, 97). However, it is still startling that only 60% of infants under age one follow the recommended immunization schedule (McIlvenny & Barr, 1999, 97).
This number may increase as patients continue to receive satisfactory health care that motivates them to return to see a doctor when the need arises.
One final issue to consider when discussing the health care system of the United Arab Emirates and patient satisfaction is the availability citizens have to adequate health care services.
There has been a gradual improvement in this area over the past twenty or so years (Bener, et al, 1993, 444). An expansion of primary health care services has been established so that no citizen lives more then 30 km away from some type of health service (Bener, et al, 1993, 444).
The medical needs of people living in the United Arab Emirates are met through the increasing availability of curative, preventative and promotive services (Bener, et al, 1993, 444). The government in the United Arab Emirates continues to research ways to bring high quality health care services to all areas of the nation.
In comparison to the United Arab Emirates, Australia is a much more developed nation that has had access to adequate health care for many years as can be proven by their high life expectancy rates (Korda, et al, 2007, 157).
In addition, as the United Arab Emirates has been expanding health care to include all citizens, Australia has typically seen a gap in health care across socioeconomic groups (Korda, et al, 2007, 157; Ee-Ming & Kidd, 2002, 59).
There are two reasons for this trend. One is that people with lower socioeconomic means don’t have adequate access to high quality health care and the second is that they report lower rates of patient satisfaction as compared to those with higher socioeconomic status (Korda, et al, 2007, 157).
Despite Australia’s use of a universal health care system, there is still an unequal access to health care among groups of different economic means (Korda, et al, 2007, 157). A good example is the unequal health care that rural and aboriginal populations receive as compared to those living in more urban and wealthy areas (Ee-Ming & Kidd, 2002, 59).
Similar to the United Arab Emirates, the health care system in Australia uses patient satisfaction surveys to improve health care (Draper, et al, 2001, 463).
Authorities working with the health care system in Australia have come to realize that the patient doctor relationship is vital to establishing high levels of patient satisfaction so efforts are being made to improve this aspect of health care (Draper, et al, 2001, 463). For example, women who do not have a positive relationship with their doctor report dissatisfaction with their birthing experience.
The majority of women who do not have positive relationships with their doctor are those that are young, without partners or living with a low income (Draper, et al, 2001, 463). This once again proves the point that adequate health care in Australia is not always accessible to all citizens.
One aspect of health care that is widely available in Australia that is not available in the United Arab Emirates is after hours care. Australia makes use of telephone triage and advice services when dealing with primary care (Leibowitz, et al, 2003, 312). These types of systems ensure that all patients have access to nurses and physicians even when doctor offices and clinic are closed and a trip to the hospital isn’t necessary.
These types of services provide higher levels of customer satisfaction because patients feel comfortable knowing that there is always a doctor or nurse available when they have an issue with their health. Doctors also welcome these types of services because it reduces their workload and allows them to see more patients (Leibowitz, et al, 2003, 312).
Phone services provide useful advice that may reduce the number of visits a patient needs to make to a doctor which increase patient satisfaction. Finally, doctors who do not have to see each patient for each issue are able to provide health care to a larger group of people.
Patient satisfaction is an essential component to high quality health care. The United Arab Emirates seems to provide the type of health care that garners positive response from patients. Despite the statues of their development, the United Arab Emirates provides access to health care to all citizens. Additionally, this health care is the same for all individuals regardless of economic background.
Australia provides universal health care that is highly effective for those who can access it; however, there is a large sector of the lower socioeconomic rural and aboriginal populations who do not have equal access to health care. Therefore, by providing equal access to health care for all citizens, the United Arab Emirates are designing a more effective model of universal health care.
Finally, the United Arab Emirates health care system can be considered more effective because it strives to make improvements in all areas rather than focusing on more specific areas. The initiative to provide immunizations to more sectors of the population has been one contributing factor towards increasing life expectancy while decreasing the risks associated with communicable diseases.
Australia is also working to improve their health care system but it appears that these improvements only benefit certain areas of health care rather than improving all areas equally. Once again, rural and aboriginal populations don’t see marked improvement in the health care they have access to and as a result their patient satisfaction reports remain low.
While the United Arab Emirates may not be on par with the life expectancy and advancements of Australia, their health care system can be considered more effective because it is making improvements that benefit all citizens. The most effective health care system is one that ensures all citizens receive high quality and equal health care.
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