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What is Healthcare Policy in Nursing
When it comes to health and safety, healthcare policy is a crucial component of the healthcare system in the United States. Access, affordability, delivery methods, and privacy are all fundamental healthcare aspects that policy affects. Policymakers at all levels of government have a hand in this process by establishing guidelines and regulations.
As a prospective nurse, it’s in your best interest to understand healthcare policy issues in the United States, how it operates, and why it’s vital. For health administrators, on the other hand, learning about and contributing to health policy will assist your organization in achieving its goals. Here is how to get started in the health advocacy and policymaking fields. What is Healthcare Policy in Nursing:
What is healthcare policy in nursing?
Healthcare policies are the guiding principles and procedures that decide who can receive treatment and how much it will cost. Insurance, financial responsibility, and access to care are some factors addressed by national healthcare policies. International health, mental health, healthcare services, insurance, and medicines, public health, are all subsets of healthcare policy issues
The importance of health care policy
Healthcare policy is crucial because it sets standards that improve outcomes for the entire healthcare system, individuals, and healthcare providers. When the healthcare policy and legislation protocols are in place, you can avoid a lack of clear communication and human errors.
A healthcare policy helps reduce risk by ensuring facilities adhere to directing personnel with best practices in securing critical data and care delivery, preventing unnecessary lawsuits, and safeguarding employees from damage.
By ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local rules and regulations and stringent accreditation standards, nurses and healthcare policy help ensure that healthcare institutions operate ethically and legally. And they enhance internal communication by providing employees with the data they need to conduct their jobs effectively, leading to streamlined operations and better patient care.
Healthcare policies
To be able to maintain quality care for patients, organizations must set policies and procedures in healthcare to address the following aspects of their operations.
Bring Your Own Device
A bring-your-own-device (BYOD) policy is a standard policy in the healthcare industry, and it can be pretty easy to implement. Your BYOD policy need not be highly comprehensive, but it should address the primary concerns that could compromise the safety of your workplace.
There is a smartphone in every hand these days. While convenient, personal electronic devices have their own concerns, mainly when used to gain access to confidential company data. This doesn’t have to be limited to patient information; it might also refer to internal company emails, communications, and records.
Workplace health and safety policies
Your healthcare policy, which naturally centers on your patients, should also extend to your employees, who are your most valuable resource. Workers’ health and safety on the job should be a top priority for any healthcare organization because they are the facility’s most valuable resource. This is especially true given the increased dangers to health faced by those working in the healthcare sector.
Beyond that, you shouldn’t ignore your employees’ health in general. Breastfeeding, stress at work, weight loss, and healthy eating in the workplace are just some of the healthcare policy issues your company’s wellness department should address. All of these factors contribute to maintaining a healthy workforce, which is consistently shown to be more productive.
Patient care policies
Whether your organization is a large hospital serving multiple states, a regional rehabilitation center, or a local podiatry office, it is vital to have policies that govern patient care. Areas you can cover in your facility’s policies include the procedures you offer, the illnesses and injuries you treat, when to transfer them, and when to refer patients to other facilities. You should also address particular medical situations, such as an emergency or contact with bodily fluids, in detail in your patient care policies.
No matter the size or focus of your organization, the first step in developing patient care policies is to ask yourself some fundamental questions. Medical protocols and workflow are outlined in patient care policies to help medical professionals make decisions in various settings. Of course, your organization’s policies should reflect the specific care it gives. Different treatment protocols necessitate unique approaches to patient care.
Social barriers
The health of underprivileged groups in the United States can be improved by addressing the underlying socioeconomic factors contributing to their deteriorating living situations. The goal of some public health clinics and non-profits is to go beyond meeting patients’ basic medical needs by also addressing their overall health and well-being.
Low-cost housing, healthy food, reliable child care, quality education, reliable transportation, and so on all fall under this umbrella. Maintaining a healthy population requires better health outcomes and lower costs for everyone.
Drug handling health policy
The drug handling policies address what to do if inventory is missing, medication was erroneously delivered or prescribed, or other drug-related problems occur. Which safeguards and procedures are you doing for drug handling? Most facilities do not include stock medications, while others stock only over-the-counter medications. Others stock highly controlled and regulated meds.
You need an apparent policy and procedures in healthcare on how you give medication, document and record it, and what to do when a problem occurs at work or inventory goes missing, regardless of where you lie on the spectrum. Whether the medication is over-the-counter, regulated, or non-controlled, drug policies establish protocols for the handling and administering of medications. This may include protocols for recording, handling, and administering each medication.
Information security policy
Security is becoming an enormously critical problem for all sizes of healthcare facilities. How will smaller firms without a dedicated security team handle suspicious individuals or situations? When and to whom do they sound an alert?
Security rules define in detail how personnel should respond to events that represent a danger to the security of their facility. This can involve scenarios such as active shooters, medical staff abuse, theft, the abduction or elopement of patients, etc. When a facility has security procedures, all personnel must be aware of and comply with them.
Whether or not your institution employs a security team, your health-related policies should make it apparent that security, like compliance, is everyone’s duty. You must provide staff at all levels with the proper information and processes to enable them to address any potential security-related incidents.
In addition to physical security, regulations and procedures regarding data privacy and technological security are crucial for any healthcare facility. The HIPAA Privacy Rule prohibits the dissemination of patient information to the general public while authorizing the communication of this information between health personnel and in certain other circumstances. The stronger the integration of technology into the operations of healthcare facilities, the greater the likelihood of information leakage and privacy breaches.
Social media policies
Attractive as they may be, social media like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can present complex problems when it comes to medical care. What kind of content is acceptable for employees to share in the workplace? What about when they’re not on shift but still discussing events that occurred in your workplace?
There is a delicate balance between the institution’s needs, the patient’s privacy, and the personnel’s rights under the First Amendment. That’s why having a healthcare policy in writing that sets out what employees are and aren’t authorized to do is vital.
Access, usage of official accounts, security standards, disclaimers, and interaction, online behavior are all essential topics that should be addressed in a healthcare organization’s social media policy. Outlining these nurses and healthcare policy specifics can aid your institution in avoiding embarrassing mishaps like an employee tweeting objectionable content from the official hospital account or a member of staff leaking sensitive information online.
Administrative and HR policies
Administrative and human resources policies are another type of healthcare policy example. From a managerial and staffing standpoint, these address all relevant concerns. Even though hospitals and clinics are in the business of helping people get better, it’s crucial to keep in mind that they are also businesses.
Staff wellness is essential for a successful institution because it ensures that workers can provide safe patient care without compromising their health. These policies should also address health-related administrative concerns, such as patient visitation and bed capacity.
These seemingly little standards and procedures can help administrative personnel streamline many inquiries and concerns, allowing them to handle the operational side of things more smoothly. Rules prohibiting the use of tobacco and alcohol on the job, chemical exposure, mandatory protective gear like face masks and gloves to prevent the spread of disease, nutritional incentives, and wellness initiatives like paid time off are all part of policies with dual goals of protecting and promoting employee health.
Medical expenses
Many people find that their share of the bill for medical care is still prohibitively costly, even with health insurance. Now, more than ever, policymakers must find a cost-effective solution for the people of the United States in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The US healthcare policy explores ways to reduce expenditures in this area without lowering standards of care to address these inflated rates. Possible alternatives include allowing governments to set price controls for healthcare or dramatically lowering the cost of prescription drugs. There is also the possibility of introducing publicly administered insurance plans that offer lower premiums than their commercial counterparts.
With the public option, people who can’t afford private health care wouldn’t have to go without coverage. And private insurers might feel compelled to reduce their prices if they had to compete with the public option.
Infectious disease policy
An infectious disease policy aims to outline the significance of disease control and the means to prevent an outbreak. Regarding workplace infections, SHRM states, “Employers are legally liable for both workers and nonemployees.”
Workers in the healthcare industry are more likely to come into touch with infectious diseases than employees in other fields. An infectious disease policy ensures that your staff is well-informed and follows all applicable protocols. This helps stop the spread of illness, safeguards healthcare personnel, and reduces the risk of legal action against your business.
Nurses and healthcare policy
It is crucial to have nurse practitioners involved in shaping health policy. In particular, nurse practitioners have the power to affect healthcare systems and organizations to improve patient health. Since nurse practitioners are frequently found at the front lines of treatment, it falls on them to translate broad healthcare policy issues in the United States into more personal encounters with patients.
Because they spend so much time directly with patients, nurse practitioners have unique insights essential for crafting health policy. Because of this, nurse practitioners are typically in tune with what works and what doesn’t. They can inform policymakers about the healthcare system’s triumphs and shortcomings.
Leaders in the nursing career play a crucial role in disseminating information about healthcare policy and legislation to their subordinates and holding them to the standards set out by the organization.
Increasing knowledge about healthcare policy issues
Depending on the area of medicine they specialize in as a nurse practitioner, nurses can have varying degrees of influence on health policy. Take a look at these instances:
An adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner might know more about illness prevention and wellness promotion in the elderly because of their extensive experience with this population.
A nurse practitioner with expertise in psychiatric mental health can provide insight into how healthcare policy issues in the United States affect patients’ emotional well-being. Since they treat people of all ages, family nurse practitioners may have unique insights into how a health policy might help people from all walks of life get the treatment they need. Nurse practitioners must have a solid education to execute health policy and advocate for good changes.
Final word
A healthcare public policy is crucial for the preferred delivery of healthcare services. Most importantly, nurses are at the forefront of implementing healthcare policies and procedures
even though they do not take part in their formulation. The best way forward is to involve all the task holders in formulating each health policy in the United States.
Each stakeholder should understand a health policy and healthcare policy issues and provide a healthcare program policy evaluation analysis template. With the dynamic technological change, health practitioners should be aware of all the yearly healthcare policy changes.

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