Health policy is a series plan of action assumed by governments or healthcare groups to achieve a desired health outcome (Cherry and Trotter Betts, 2005). The total health care system that comprises private and public sectors, including the political forces and other circumstances that impact the system, are formed by the healthcare – policymaking process. Public health associated policies originated from local or international, state, or federal laws or regulations, or court rulings that administrate the delivery of healthcare services. Institutions and business policies relevant to healthcare are also existed. These policies are established and applied by different agencies, namely hospitals, accrediting institutions or other relevant healthcare organizations. Examples of this institutional policy that are followed by the hospitals are from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (Abood, 2007).Task 1 – The Policy Making Process
The following stages are observed in the policy making:
1. Organize the policy process – this involves the objectives of the policy, urgency, framework, applicable organizations involved, and other resources to be obtained.
2. Problem identification and agenda setting – knowing and prioritizing the problem needed to be address in which it carries a great weight that the organization need to act or solve. Identification of problem is participated by the interested groups of individuals, organization and other relevant agencies that give inputs, information and research to agree that such problem exist and a plan of action needs to be done. Reviewing of the existing policies related to the problem is also essentials as this may provide data that will help to formulate better policy.
In the policy formulation, the issue is outlined to its objectives and desired outcomes that are logically identified; selected most appropriate strategies, and necessary resources are identified and prepared for. Here are the detailed steps taken in formulation of policy:
- Identify the main problem – utilizing the information gathered, the team of specialist or individuals who have experienced in analyzing the problem will help narrowed down the main issue to be tackled. This also include advice of essential actions to be done, and what other related sectors needed that impact or affected in this policy to be made.
- Make a detailed situation analysis – digging into the main possible root cause of the problem and thoroughly explore to come up potential solutions that is necessary for the present or upcoming concerns.
- Set goals and objectives for a national health policy – right approaches are developed to achieve the goals and objectives. Interest of other sectors may possibly be affected due to corrupt motivations or impartialities, this needs to be address in order to avoid barriers in arrriving its objectives. Example, limiting or erradicating dengue – In Singapore, the department of environment and media with collaboration of the MOH will ensure information dessimination of ways to avoid mosquito breeding. Houses are visited by the environment officials and street canals are checked to (penalty are given to those household who have possible house of mosquito), a mandate for dengue cases to be reported to MOH including those admitted in the hospital so that monitoring and alert to the neighborhood will be given. Color coding for dengue alert is also used as a warning status of such neighborhood, allowing everyone in the place to participate in stopping the dengue.
The way to solve the issue must be efficient and feasible way as possible and also political feasible. This means that acceptable design of policy is undertaken by the authorized legitimate decision makers (Boundless, 2014).
- Draft the text of the policy – detailed information about the formulated policy are lay down. These includes the objectives and specified strategies; and these are mainly gathered and outlined by the same experts that handles the process.
- Circulate and revise the draft policy – relevant sectors including the government are noted about the policy in order for them to respond or argue, state their concerns, or even suggest ways to solve the problem. Circulation is important in order for the policy makers to receive feedback that will improve or make the policy better. The draft policy will be reviewed and possible amenmends will be made if necesarry.
3. Adoption/Secure formal endorsement of the policy – is the process in which the policies are embraced by the government organization for future application. The formulated policies must be adopted in order to take effect (Boundless,2014). For example the governors or mayors can adopt the policies for the modification of the state or local level, and the president can introduce new national policies. The media can aid in the endorsement of the policy
4. Launch the national health policy – is the advertising of the formulated policy to all relevant sectors in the community. This is where the healtcare institutions and other involved organizations participate and apply the policy. Well defined objectives of the policy is essential and promotions through media or social network is helpful.
5. Implementation – in this period the formulated policy is puting into action. A plan of action is made that includes the time frame, people or agencies to be involved, responsible authority, limited resources to be used to its full extent, monitoring and assessment tools. During the implementaion phase there will be changes or circumstances that will lead the policy to be amended or adopt to the event. Policy implementation is challenging and hard to achieve, mostly it will take a prolonged period of time to get it started or not be executed at all.
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6. Monitoring and Evaluation it is an on going process of assessment and recordings of results and conditions that affects the policy. Key indicators are used as tools to aid in monitoring. The stakeholders involved or assigned authority initiate the monitoring and data will be collected for evaluation. It is in this stage where the policy objectives are examined if it was met. Evaluation on the other hand, comments the formulated policy if it is working to meet its goals and objectives. It can be divided into initial, mid and final evaluation. To see if the policy is operational, producing favorable results and cost effective and be useful for future plans.
Certain standards are set for evaluating policies, it may be assess informally by honest feedback from the affected groups, or comparisons of policies resulted in scientific research, and evidence formed regarding its effectiveness, various objectives that are not match or useful, and broad to be achieved. But some evaluations are tainted and tend to be bias.
Healthcare issues causes to make policies and phases of policy making from formulation, implementation and evaluation are greatly impacted by the liking and power of elected officials, other individuals, organizations and special interest groups (Abood, 2007), this is where decision makers rely on the political skills and influence to come up an acceptable course of action as different individuals have conflicting proposals, request and values. That is why proposed policy is hard to be implemented or may take considerable time to be enacted.
It is also important that the healthcare individuals know the functions of legislative framework and regulations in policy making. It aids in putting the policy into realization for the public and private sectors to follow. Nurses as one of the largest groups in healthcare industry plays a big role as advocates in healthcare issues, being vigilant in the policy and politics of healthcare system, will help influence in the policy making. While practicing its profession, nurses or patients may discover healthcare issues that need attention. Knowing the legislative process and policy will help their voices not to be wasted, and by writing letters or feedbacks to the right people at the right period, they could be heard and will make a positive difference. Possessing a consensus with the large group of supporters in the organization will raise the concerns and provoked legislators to notice them. Hence, legislative arena is the place where most advocates focus their beliefs on a certain issues, where they meet the legislators, different groups, attest at hearings and briefings, making this as a first pace towards policy change (Abood, 2007).
Abood, S. (2007, December 1). Influencing Healthcare in the Legislative Arena. American Nurses Association , 4.
Boundless. (2014, July 03). Policy Formulation. Retrieved November 14, 2014, from Boundless Political Science: https;//www.boundless.com/political-science/textbooks/boundless-political-science-textbook/domestic-policy-15/policy-making-process-95-formulation-514-6174
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