The Sociological Imagination
The Sociological Imagination
Sociological imagination was coined , a famed sociologist. It covers the aspect of viewing one’s life events as if it were part of a greater and grander sociological scheme. According to , the men of today feel that they live in a place where there are a “series of traps”. According to him, it was because people chose to look at their lives in a limited scope. If one were to view it in a grander scale, one would see that the issues in one’s personal life is greatly influenced and interlocked with public issues.
In the context of healthcare, sociological imagination can help broaden the minds of the people involved in the issues and can greatly help in pushing upward the state of healthcare organizations. In individual contexts, one can help move himself from the rot he has fallen into if he views himself as a part of a grand scheme. In this paper, sociological imagination is discussed, in the context of healthcare organization.
Illness and disease are fast spreading in our community. In reality, hunger kills more than a million people each day. Diseases and illnesses claim a million more. A book by Dr. entitled, “As Sick as It Gets”, describes the factors that affect a lot of people. According to some reviews, America is the only country that charges its citizens for healthcare.
“Dr. explains the economic, political, medical and moral necessity of a universal healthcare system for the United States.
The only advanced, industrialized nation, that does not have a national healthcare system is the United States.
Americans pay 40% more for health care than the next highest-paying country.
The Pharmaceutical industry is the most profitable business in the U.S.
Drug companies alone made $36 billion in profits in 2002, that's nearly 18% profits after taxes.
The World Health Organization rates American healthcare 37th in the world.
There are 42,000,000 people who have NO insurance and another 45 million underinsured in America..
Patterns of illness are difficult to determine, were it not for the Sociological Imagination paradigm brought up by . “ (quoted from “As Sick As it Gets”, )
How does one view the situations above? One must try to use the ability of sociological imagination. Let us take for example hunger. Why is there excessive hunger in the world? According to The Hunger Site,
“It is estimated that one billion people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition. That's roughly 100 times as many as those who actually die from these causes each year.
About 24,000 people die every day from hunger or hunger-related causes. This is down from 35,000 ten years ago, and 41,000 twenty years ago. Three-fourths of the deaths are children under the age of five.
Famine and wars cause about 10% of hunger deaths, although these tend to be the ones you hear about most often. The majority of hunger deaths are caused by chronic malnutrition. Families facing extreme poverty are simply unable to get enough food to eat.
The Hunger Site began on June 1, 1999. In 1999, a year marked by good economic news, 31 million Americans were food insecure, meaning they were either hungry or unsure of where their next meal would come from. Of these Americans, 12 million were children. “ ( 2007).
Examining the reasons and facts pointed out above, hunger is really a very persistent problem in the world. But taking sociological imagination into perspective, one can note that hunger is a part of a much larger happening in the world. According to some, it may be famine. Famine is in turn a great happening occurring on all sides of the globe. Being able to see such things can well determine the solution to the constant problem of hunger in the world.
In another light, let us examine health care. Primary health care or PHC is the very much needed health care act based on practical, scientifically sound and socially acceptable methods and technology made universally accessible to individuals and families in the community through their full participation and at a cost that the community and country can afford to maintain at every stage of their development in the spirit of self-reliance and self determination (1978). Primary health care is an approach for building interventions that can lead to improved health outcomes for an entire population (1997). Primary health care incorporates five principles: (a) Equitable distribution, (b) Appropriate technology, (c) A focus on health promotion and disease prevention, (d) Community participation and (e) A multi-sectoral approach ( 2004).
Deep concern about health care for the majority of the world’s population, specifically low life expectancies and high mortality rates among children led to the global health strategy of primary health care. The WHO declaration emphasized health or well-being as a fundamental right and a worldwide social goal. It attempted to address inequality in health status of persons in all countries and to target government responsibility for policies that would promote economic, social, and health development. Both economic and social developments are considered basic to the achievement of health for all.
Rapid advancements in science and technology, along with investor dollars, have created major advances in medical care. These emerging technologies in medicine, which were increasingly housed in hospitals and physicians' offices, not only laid the groundwork for the coming shift in the way health care was delivered, but also increased healthcare costs.
When it comes to the workplace, it is first important to discuss the role of health care professionals in the provision of primary health care in order to understand how it is applied to a specific workplace where individuals work. The health care process is a systematic, scientific, dynamic, on-going interpersonal process in which the health care professionals and the patients are viewed as a system with each affecting the other and both being affected by factors within the behavior. From this, one could surmise that not only the health care professionals are essential for the provision of effective health care but it also needs the cooperation of the patients.
In the hospital, which is the health care setting providing the most commonly used health care services, the principles and conditions of primary health care are also demonstrated. In this current work environment, the health care professionals work closely with all the other members of the health care team to plan, coordinate, and deliver care for patients. In this work environment, primary health care looks beyond primary care with essential elements that include health education, proper nutrition, maternal/child health care, family planning, immunizations, and control of locally endemic diseases. This model being followed by the hospital is consistent with primary health care principles and conditions.
The growth in the number of elderly, coupled with the previously-mentioned large increases in the cost of health care, are making long-term care for the elderly populations very expensive (1993). Although many of the most promising medical innovations will result in better health and longer life for the elderly populations, they will also increase--not decrease—healthcare costs and spending.
This age group uses an uneven share of medical resources. In the elderly group, the social and personal requirements of residents who need some assistance with daily activities and health care are emphasized. Its an important distinction, in that the design of housing, services, activities, employee training, and such is truly customer-centered, or in other words, suited to their age group/population. At present there are many institutions or organizations that are specifically for the elder populations in the United States.
Almost all healthcare consumers would want to go to the “best” hospital in town, see their own doctor, and have access to the same new medicines. When one falls ill, gets a certain level of medical care, and tells the neighbor about it, the other's expectations are raised accordingly (2001). Each individual consumer shares a common need for health and a desire for the absence of illness through the demand for health care services and products. This in return affects the healthcare costs.
The role of the government in regulating health care providers will be limited to ensuring that providers and payers do not engage in anticompetitive practices and that the safety of consumers and patients is protected ( 1998). This means that the government tries its best to reduce the healthcare costs at all levels for the consumer’s benefits.
In the sociological perspective, one can surmise that, the healthcare organizations can be viewed in a broader manner. Many people need a lot of medical attention. And healthcare organizations exist for that reason. The organization of healthcare can be influenced and changed through sociological imagination.
Illnesses and healthcare organizations can be changed and more or less accurately predicted by sociological imagination. Sociological imagination can provide the solution to other problems that surmount every now and then.