Confusion between the terms of patient demand and need for healthcare has always been observed and reported by many researchers over a long period of time. This suggested that the idea has often resulted in the failure of correct understanding not only by the health service receiver but has been a debate between the economist and the healthcare professionals. With the growing number of population in every country, disorders and diseases have increased in number and therefore the clear distinction of the need and demand of healthcare and their differences should be clearly evaluated for correct maintenance of health care services (Pershing & Fuchs, 2013).
Growing number of population globally with the advancement of new scientific modern generation has resulted in development of various situations where people are being more exposed to different health hazards as well as different types of complicated disorder (Butler et al., 2013). Therefore, health services have become an inseparable part in human life. In every family, one can find an individual suffering from serious illness one day or the other. People have also become concerned more than the earlier generations. Therefore, demand of healthcare services have found to increase. By this statement, we definitely cannot point out that we can displace the word demand with need. We can simplify the concept with an example. If a person had developed allergy due to a particular food substance, she will visit the doctor to relieve her from the rashes that had occurred on the surface of the skin and can feel better. She visits the doctor and doctor treats her and relieves her from the allergy. This can be said that it was the patient’s need for health services. However, it arises for many situations where the patient seems not be satisfied and wants to continue the treatment so that she never faces the same problem in life in the future. In this scenario, this can be stated as a demand by the patient whose background of the need becomes debatable. In this case the doctor may or may not continue the treatment depending on the perception that whether the demand is justified or not that is whether this treatment should be continued or not. This way can save the resources from being over used unnecessarily and thereby act as economic benefit to the nation. Herein lays the difference between need and demand. Need can be defined as the requirement that must be met for proper survivability and sustenance. Demand however can vary, that might arise from need or might not have been based on the urgency of the need. The concept of demand or need as developed by the economists to describe the health services is often misinterpreted among themselves because of interpretation and usage of the two term to denote the same thing (Levesque, Harris & Russell, 2013).
Other aspect that can also be stated to differentiate the aspects of demand and needs to explain their features in the health care services may involve several other scenarios. Often researches have stated that the need of healthcare for the poor is often overridden by the demands of healthcare by the rich people because the resources preserved by the healthcare sectors are definite. However, indefinite demands of healthcare services by the patients are often found to rise in the present generations due to the advancement of scientific technology irrespective of the actual needs by the patients to receive health services. Need should be considered by the authorities and should be fixed by providing greater priorities to problems with high mortality, high morbidity, local needs like poor access to healthcare and inequity in the way they are provided, complaints or satisfaction surveys, services requiring compulsory alternative provider, and in case where poor service is provided (Black, 2013). The other wants of a patient with wishes to take health services other than the mentioned criteria should be mentioned as demands and should be judged based on the field of resource availability and perfect interpretation and clarification that patient requires the treatment. Resources hence should be judged on the economic costs and benefits to the nation and hence should be utilized responsibly.
Other cases can also be present where presenting or commenting a situation as a demand or need cannot be properly justified. There arise many situations where the patient has need of attaining an emergency intervention but feels apathetic and feels that she does not require such interventions. This is in spite of having the need to raise the demand, it is not expressed as a demand and is reported as a need only and does not have the patient consent to consider it as a demand (Agerholm et al., 2013). Therefore, different types of situations are depicted which can differentiate between the demands and needs of the health care sectors that can change the entire economic scenario of the discussions.
The health care sectors and the economists should clearly designate the terms of demands and need for patients. Proper understanding of the terms would help to evaluate the proper background and significance of a demand or need raised by individuals in health sectors so that they can utilize resources responsibly and at the same time protect people from morbidity and morbidity. Correct understanding of the terms would also help them to resolve the inequities and other gaps faced by the poor people in this sector and create a safe and secured nation (Ozegowski & Sundmacher, 2014).
Agerholm, J., Bruce, D., de Leon, A. P., & Burström, B. (2013). Socioeconomic differences in healthcare utilization, with and without adjustment for need: An example from Stockholm, Sweden. Scandinavian journal of public health, 41(3), 318-325.
Black, N. (2013). Patient reported outcome measures could help transform healthcare. BMJ (Clinical research ed), 346, f167.
Butler, D. C., Petterson, S., Phillips, R. L., & Bazemore, A. W. (2013). Measures of social deprivation that predict health care access and need within a rational area of primary care service delivery. Health services research, 48(2pt1), 539-559.
Levesque, J. F., Harris, M. F., & Russell, G. (2013). Patient-centred access to health care: conceptualising access at the interface of health systems and populations. International journal for equity in health, 12(1), 1.
Ozegowski, S., & Sundmacher, L. (2014). Understanding the gap between need and utilization in outpatient care—the effect of supply-side determinants on regional inequities. Health policy, 114(1), 54-63.
Pershing, S., & Fuchs, V. R. (2013). Restructuring medical education to meet current and future health care needs. Academic Medicine, 88(12), 1798-1801.
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