Identifying National and International Standards to Benefit the Health Care Consumer

Standards help to define processes and methods. In the health care environment, the development and acceptance of standards to be implemented within the United States is slow. Lack of standards has slowed the development of an integrated delivery system within the United States, not to mention international standards. This is unfortunate in how it can affect the health care consumer. Many health care consumers have health care issues and experiences, whether it is for themselves, family, or friends, in different health care facilities nationally and internationally. If there are people, there will be illness and therefore health care is needed all over the world. Established standards, whether for electronic documentation processes or manual paper processes, would ultimately benefit the health care consumer by patient involvement and outcomes. It is commendable that there are standards development groups working at establishing health care standards to adopt nationally, as well as, internationally. The future development of electronic health records and other technological devices will continue to drive the need for standards and help prepare for future initiatives. The health care consumer of today is more knowledgeable of their personal health issues and also more responsible in their own care and outcomes. This is due in part by the requirement of hospitals and providers requiring the documentation of the patient’s current medication list. This is placing a responsibility on the health care consumer to become more aware and involved in their personal care of themselves or relatives. Along with the accessibility to health care information on the Internet, patient education departments, and other resources of health information, the health care consumer is becoming educated more than ever before. Health care standards organizations will continue the great tasks of establishing standards and perhaps there may one day be a set of specific standards identified within health care across the globe. With the vast developments of new technology, it will be interesting to be a part of what developments are accepted, adopted, and implemented as it relates to ones personal health care information.

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