Sweden has a lengthy history of strategies for handling public health issues through the government. The country adopted a comprehensive public health policy in 2003 which aimed at offering equal health services all citizens. According to The Local, Sweden spends approximately 9% of its GDP on healthcare (“Swedish Health,” 2013). Other countries often utilize the Swedish healthcare system as their model. In healthcare, Sweden offers almost what other developed countries. The country has made attempts to improve its healthcare services through collaborating with the private sector to satisfy the healthcare needs of its citizens. This study will focus on healthcare and public health in Sweden, in addition to how science and technology can enhance health services for the country.
Sweden is a constitutional monarchy with the king as the head of the state. However, the responsibilities of the monarch are limited to ceremonial, as well as representative functions. This has made the government adopt a parliamentary democracy where a prime minister heads the government with the help of cabinet ministers (Nordstrom, 2010). The Swedish government has made a lot of progress in healthcare as well as public health through funding and implementing policies that guide the provision of healthcare service. The country is ranked among the top five countries that have low infant mortality rate. The healthcare is usually funded through taxes but patients are required to pay a small nominal fee as they seek the health services.
Sweden shares the same form of government as Netherlands. Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy, but it is the parliamentary democracy that holds the executive powers within the council of Ministers. Netherlands enjoys better healthcare services than Sweden. In fact, Netherlands is termed as the best in Europe in terms of healthcare service provision. However, in terms of life expectancy, the Dutch men have a shorter life expectancy of 75.5 years while women can only attain a standard age of 80.6 (Kirch, 2012). In Sweden, men have a life expectancy of 79.5 years while women can attain an average of 83.5 years (“Swedish healthcare,” 2013).
Despite being successful in offering appropriate healthcare service, Sweden is still facing some challenges in the provision and coordination of public health. The coordination between hospitals, healthcare professionals, as well as the local authorities has become a great challenge to the government. Lifestyle diseases resulting from excessive use of alcohol and tobacco, as well as poor eating habits, have made the struggle to offer quality healthcare service quite difficult, as the government has to spend on much on promoting health living. Social and physical environment, as well as genetics, has hindered the government from offering excellent services to its people.
Coordination of care among patients with compound needs has not been perfect while the number of aged people with chronic condition has continued to rise. This implies that as the ageing population continues to rise in the future, the government will not be able to handle their problems adequately. In addition, the growing number of aged people will create a financial strain on the government in funding the healthcare and taking care of the aged population. Cost-sharing arrangements are likely to affect the aged population, which has no means to earn extra income in the future (“Swedish HealthCare,” 2013). Lack of expansive technology may hinder provision of specialized healthcare services, particularly in local hospitals that are not well-funded.
The future challenges can be addressed through enhancing coordination among healthcare professionals and local governments to ensure that all healthcare facilities have enough healthcare providers, particularly in handling the elderly. Partnership with private companies can assist in eradicating the cost-sharing policy, which can affect the aged population in the future. The government should make arrangements to meet the needs of patients who have become disabled through lifestyle diseases or accidents by offering rehabilitation services after hospital discharge. The Swedish government is contemplating on offering subsidized healthcare to undocumented immigrants, so that they can remain productive and save their families from spending too much on healthcare (“Swedish Healthcare,” 2013). Educating people on behavior change, as well as reducing pollution can help in enhancing health living and, consequently, reducing healthcare costs.
Science and technology have been known to enhance the provision of health care service in many countries, but Sweden has not been able to exploit this concept adequately. Under Swedish law, the healthcare professionals must conduct their duties in accordance with scientific knowledge, as well as accepted standards of practices (Anell, Glenngard & Merkur, 2012). Science and technology can be utilized to minimize costs, in addition to enhance quality for patient satisfaction. Technology can be utilized to offer evidence-based care within healthcare facilities. According to Bass (2015), technology can enhance information gathering on diseases, avail information on time, and facilitate personalized care for better heath goals.
Swedish government should collaborate with the private sector to fund the healthcare in addition to addressing the future challenge in the public health provision. Some of the services, such as extensive dental treatments, as well as physiotherapy, are not wholly covered by the government; thus, partnership with private companies can assist in offering extensive services. Provision for specialized somatic care in Sweden is only found in private hospitals where advanced medical equipments are available (Anell, Glenngard & Merkur, 2012). Acquiring latest technology devices for diagnosis and treatment of lifestyle illnesses for all public hospitals may be a burden to the government; thus, private companies can assist the government in handling patients that need specialized care.
Anell, A., Glenngard, A. H., & Merkur, S. (2012). Sweden: Health System Review. Health Systems in Transition, 14(5), 1-159. Retrieved on 18 Dec. 2015 from http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/164096/e96455.pdf
Bass, K. (2015, July 31). Embracing new technologies to improve healthcare provision. News Medical. Retrieved on 18 Dec. 2015 from http://www.news-medical.net/news/20150731/Embracing-new-technologies-to-improve-healthcare-provision.aspx
Kirch, W. (2012). Public health in Europe: 10 years European public health association. Berlin: Springer.
Nordstrom, B. J. (2010). Culture and customs of Sweden. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood.
Swedish Healthcare: All You Need To Know (2013, March 27). The Local, Lifestyles. Retrieved on 18 Dec. 2015 from http://www.thelocal.se/20130327/46910