In any business undertaking, there exist various providers of products or services. Every organization aims at attaining maximum financial gain or return (Colander, 2008). From the concepts of economics, resources are invested to earn a return or profit. The profit constitutes the opportunity of working or investing. Just like in any other field, health care provision has multiple players. The providers are equally numerous. To make a profit from such a state, marketing would play a crucial role. Competition sets in as all the providers strive to appease clients. This paper presents a discussion regarding competition in health care provision.
The major forms of competition in health care provision are categorized in three forms. Competition among providers of health care, competition among the organizations that offer health care services, and competition among organizations that offer ancillary services towards health care provision (Moseley, 2009). There exists competition among health care providers or practitioners. The aim is to win over patients or clients. This can be among physicians themselves. These are all trained and qualified staff who desire to outshine their colleagues in return for an extra income. The more one has, the more income they receive.
Another form of competition is among the organizations that provide health care services (Moseley, 2009). They compete for health care professionals who would guide them towards prosperity. They also compete for resources. This can be financial resources from financiers, and other deals that would help their organizations improve their operations. Competition can also be on the front of service delivery and costs to be charged on services offered. This is in a bid to entice patients. An example of this competition is one between one hospital and another.
The last type of competition is encountered among the organizations or bodies that offer ancillary services to health care provision (Moseley, 2009). These are bodies that are not directly involved in health care provision. Some of them provide health care plans. For example, insurance firms do. Others in this category offer financing to health care centers and health care management programs. These organizations also compete to get a share or control of the activities in health care. The above are the three main forms of competition in health care provision.
This section analyses the benefits and pitfalls of competition in health care provision. In cases where competition as a driver to customer satisfaction and quality services in unavailable, an alternative is provided. The benefits of health care competition are dominant over the pitfalls (Kotler, & Gary, 2006). As is the case in any industry or field, competition enhances service delivery to customers. For a health care organization or provider to attract a client or customer, their services would account for the appeal as an incentive. Where the quality is ineffective, few customers would be drawn to such a facility. Providers would as a result strive to improve their services for them to command a following in their areas of service provision.
Competition leads to reduction of costs for services. As contained in the law of demand, the lower the price, the higher the demand and vice versa. Health care providers will have no choice other than lower their costs for them to attract customers. Such would lead to affordable costs of health care. Competition also leads to customer satisfaction (Moseley, 2009). Since customers have multiple choices to choose, any provider would capitalize on an opportunity gained to offer the best services to customers. This augurs well for the welfare of customers or patients.
One pitfall of competition in health care is that competition may not necessarily lead to improved quality of services and customer satisfaction (Kotler, & Gary, 2006). The reason for competing is to gain more ground in the market for a higher. The ultimate aim is to earn more income. Other unethical practices may be used in bids to win the attention of customers. Use of propaganda and black mailing of competitors would often be used. Such practices are unethical. This defeats the spirit of fair and open competition.
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In the absence of competition, quality service delivery in health care would still need to be maintained. The authorities through appropriate agencies would be mandated to ensure standard practices are adhered to in order to guarantee decent services that guarantee customers satisfaction (Caplin and Schotter, 2008). Providers who fail to meet the minimum threshold would have their licenses revoked. Through such mechanisms, quality services would be met without there being need for competition. The essence of successful competition is to ensure customers enjoy appropriate services. In a free economy, perfection or excellence is rewarded while failure to meet standard practices is punished (Colander, 2008). Through competition, customers or patients become the ultimate winners since they have a variety of options. The providers would strive to offer the best services and products in order to get income. This leads to better quality services at affordable prices. The use of competitive intelligence forms the basis of making an informed decision. Effective utilization of market and competitors information would lead to enhancement of standards. Competition has immense influence on the quality of services offered by health care organizations. In a bid to lure customers to the products of an organization, quality services act as factor to attract customers (Caplin and Schotter, 2008). Lower prices and customer satisfaction are other contributory elements. Organizations that guarantee such gains would command a steady demand for their services. Customers end up benefitting from the above-discussed gains. These are possible because of competition. Any reasonable and rational customer or patient would seek care where they are assured or promised the gains.
Competition in health care brings out the best in the providers and organizations that offer the services. In the market wars of the parties involved, the patients or customers stand to make substantial gains (Colander, 2008). These are contained in the reduced or affordable health care provision costs, enhancement of quality of services and efforts made towards attaining of customer satisfaction. From the foregoing discussion, competition in health care should be encouraged so long as it remains fair to all.
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