Evolution of Healthcare Specialization

Evolution of Healthcare Specialization

Evolution of Healthcare Specialization


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Today’s healthcare system is specifically tailored to meet the needs of each specific individual. The buzzword “personalized medicine” has spun out of a trend to specialize healthcare delivery, during the post WWII era. The result has been an optimized, knowledge-based system, which has also relied heavily on dependence from user-friendly Healthcare Information Technology Systems.

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During the early twentieth centaury the global and U.S. healthcare delivery system entered into a paradigm shift from general practices to specialized therapies. At this point in time the specialization of healthcare was believed to have been the next step in not only optimizing the overall system for the patient, but also to help develop better quality practices for all involved stakeholders. These stakeholders include; Insurers, Medical Doctors, Nursing Professionals, Drug Developers/Dispensers, Researchers, Third Party Affiliates and finally Patients (American Board, 2014). This brief report will seek to expand the knowledge of todays current trend in specialized healthcare delivery by assessing multiple causes and effects of specialization.Evolution of Healthcare Specialization

Evolution of Healthcare Specialization
Specialization in healthcare exists because it is the next step towards enhancing the level of care, delivered to the patient. It is a byproduct of knowledge expansion and it functions to deliver higher quality healthcare (White et.al, 2013). A brief history of specialization; Following the completion of WWII, educational systems in the U.S. began to expand. A collective group of professionals seeking to enhance the knowledge of specific diseases desired to optimize specific treatments for patients, in a cost effective manner (White et.al, 2013). As research indicated that each disease/disorder possessed its own unique symptoms and genetic/bodily anomalies these researchers realized that it would be more beneficial to target the disease within the particular individual instead of implementing a general plan across multiple demographics. Qualitative data therefore indicates that the learning curve during this time period also was undergoing a rapid upwards growth spurt, as individuals within the system desired to increase their knowledge, producing specialized concepts during the process (American Board, 2014).

Healthcare Information Technology Systems
Overtime IT solutions have evolved from informational storage databases to processing centers. Processing and data storage programs exist today within specialized fields such as; specific treatment methods, patient outcomes, optimized drug delivery/development methods (Ortiz et.al, 2003). Specialization has impacted HIT development by setting minimum standards for processing data, to yield conclusions. The implications of specialization in HIT development have therefore been to generate disease/problem specific solutions that center on improving the overall quality of healthcare. Specialization created the targets for future models of HITs (Ortiz et.al, 2003). Continuity is easily achieved using todays HITs. Data may be stored for building enhanced models using historical trends (Ortiz et.al, 2003).Evolution of Healthcare Specialization

Historically, the specialization of healthcare delivery methods should not be viewed as a novel or outlandish concept. Instead it should be embraced as the next step in the evolution towards a perfect system of personalized medicine. As each individual may have different symptoms and each disease may impact a person differently, specialization, which considers these, differences will likely lead to optimized therapies.

  • American Board of Medical Specialties. (2014). Expansion of Specialties and Growth of Subspecialties. Retrieved from http://www.abms.org/About_ABMS/ABMS_History/Extended_History/Expansion.aspx
  • Ortiz, E., & Clancy, C. M. (2003). Use of Information Technology to Improve the Quality of Health Care in the United States. Health Services Research. doi:10.1111/1475-6773.00127
  • Wager, K. A., Lee, F. W., & Glaser, J. P. (2013). Health care information systems: A practical approach for health care management.
  • White, L., Duncan, G., & Baumle, W. (2013). Medical-surgical nursing: An integrated approach. Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.Evolution of Healthcare Specialization


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