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Sociology of Health

Q1. Postmodernism is a term which cannot be defined specifically. There are different schools of thought regarding the perspectives that are provided by the postmodernism in different aspects. The closest it can be explained by the fact that postmodernism or a postmodernist is the one who accepts the difference and irreducible conflict in the affairs of human and it influences the ways of knowing and being (Snir, 2018). When healthcare of the humankind is seen in the postmodernist perspective, it includes following things: preference of remedies which are natural of origin; disillusionment with science and technology; holistic view of the health; person-centred care; and consumerism (Tretheway et al., 2017). The aspect of holism in healthcare is a postmodernist insight which is in accordance with the definition of health as given by the World Health Organization. Holism in healthcare is related to taking care of all the aspects of health so that overall there can be positive health. In Australia, where there are people from different cultural background and the concept of holism is different for everyone. The holistic concept of health is related not only to the physical but also the mental, social, cultural and spiritual aspects of the health (Tretheway et al., 2017).

Q2. Health discrepancy between indigenous and non-indigenous population is present since historic times. To reduce the same, there is the presence of close the gap campaign which is aimed to reduce the health discrepancy that exists and to an extent it has become a success as the life expectancy of the indigenous population has increased (Hall, 2017). Under various programs, there have been fund allocations which work for the reduction in the health disparity but the success of the same has not been much and there are various reasons for that. For example, in an attempt to address this issue, the governments of Australia have established primary health centres in remote and rural areas. This is done in such areas because of the geographic distribution of the indigenous and non-indigenous population. The success of these centres is questionable because the workforce who is required to cater to such a population is virtually non-existent. This is attributed to the fact the healthcare professional is reluctant to stay and work in a rural and remote setting. Another factor which plays an important in the health discrepancy is the fact that perception of health by the indigenous population is different from that of mainstream medicine and this often leads to under-utilization of the existing healthcare services (Bastos et al., 2018).

Q3. Psychiatry is that branch of medicine in which the healthcare professionals work with the social responsibility of making sure that their patients do not cause any kind of harm to the community and society (Pringle & Thompson, 2019). The resultant action can be called as medical social control. This social control can be related to the sociological theories and the healthcare professionals act on these to make sure that their patients work in a certain manner. One of the theories is a cognitive and intrapersonal theoretical perspective which is based on the perspective of the society, the reality of a person and the manner of storing the information (Marroquín et al., 2017). This is the internal process of a person which often results in the outlook of the person in his/her cognitive behaviour. For example, in a person who is schizophrenic, it is often seen that there is a defect of the perception of a person. The sense of reality becomes less and the difference between reality and perception is bleak. The outburst of this is seen in the cognitive behaviour of the person where it is seen that there is difficulty in decision making and also there can be an illusion which can lead to destructive behaviour. By the use of pharmacotherapy or cognitive behaviour therapy, the healthcare professionals try to get that social control.

Q4. E-health mainly pertains to an electronic health record. Electronic health record system is the one which is used for storing all the health-related data of a person in a form which can be accessed by anyone who is involved in the care of a patient including the patient (Blijleven et al., 2017). The advantages of using electronic health records are many. Paperwork which is related to just one person can be abundant and more the patients more are the collection of paper which can be reduced by the use of E-health systems. Since it is an electronic transferring of care from one specialty or even care facility is relatively easy as one can just log into the system to gain access to patient records. The patient records consist of information about the patient, current diagnosis, past history, medications and results of investigations (Gold et al., 2017). With the advancement of technology, there are always drawbacks that are associated like in this case privacy of the patient can be compromised as anyone who can access the system have access to patient records (Yüksel et al., 2017). Another limitation is that if a patient gets transferred or opts to go to a healthcare facility where a different system is used access to records is challenging.

Q5. Ideologies of the people involved in the healthcare of a nation of the community are such that the health disparity should reduce and there is the betterment of health. Politics affect the health and healthcare systems of a community or nation in an indirect manner but the effect that is present is profound (Cinaroglu, 2019). Politics affect the fund and manpower allocation for healthcare in different sections of the society. For example, for close the gap campaign there is an allocation of fund to reduce the health disparity that exists. Politics play an important role in the redistribution of resources which affects the health of the population in a major way (Cinaroglu, 2019). The political influence can have a beneficial effect as well on the health of the population as well. For example, there is a pharmaceutical benefits scheme in which people are entitled to free or subsidized drugs so that a level of optimal health can be obtained. Similarly, home and community care are provided to the elderly population in Australia under which care provision to the elderly is at a subsidized price as well much of the services are given free of cost. Under the same scheme healthcare professionals are also proportionately allocated.

Q6. The functionalist theory is the one in which the society is one single body and there are vital parts of the society which work as the vital organs of the body to make sure that the society keeps working (Turner, 2017). There are parts of the society which act like heart and lungs of the society like schools and educational institutions and the families in the society which along with law and order make sure that the social work smoothly (Turner, 2017). Like a body in the society, these parts are expected to work in harmony with each other and this is the main assumption of functionalist theory. There are few limitations to functionalism: it looks effective but the effectiveness is questionable; to make the society into an individual person part of society are given roles but individuals in the society are not considered in this (Joas, 2016). It views the society and the parts of the society at the macro level while the micro things are not considered in functionalism. Lastly, the group of the society which is allocated a particular role if they stray the particular organ might not function properly (Joas, 2016).

Q7. Medical dominance means the control of medical profession over the occupation of other healthcare professional and their workforces like that of nurses, therapists, dentists, physical therapists, and even psychiatrists (Wranik&Haydt, 2018). Medical dominance is attributed to the fact that the medical professionals generally have more autonomy, funding and the personnel working for the same is more and consequently, the fund allocation for the same is more. With the evolution and inclusion of the concept of primary healthcare and with the increased importance of interprofessional workforce medical dominance has declined but it still is a part of the healthcare (Wranik&Haydt, 2018). Medical dominance or medical power by the medical profession in Australia is achieved by professional autonomy of doctors and it is aided by the fact the most of the revenue is generated by the medical profession. Also, in the healthcare system, political and ideological belief is that the medical professional that is, doctors have more knowledge and expertise (Cullerton et al., 2019). This is also seconded by other allied healthcare professionals as they state that they have to work more rigorously to prove they have expertise skill and value for money. This dominance of the medical profession can be seen in the workforce, administration and also by the over-representation of the doctors in the structure of policymaking as well (Cullerton et al., 2019).

Q8. Concept of discourse is defined as the ways in which knowledge is constituted which is interlinked along with social practices which forms the basis of subjectivity and power relations which is related to knowledge and the relation between them (Yazdannik et al., 2017). Concept of discourse is that there are more ways of thinking and each of those ways will produce a different set of meanings. In the field of healthcare, a discourse is usually used in research so that a conclusive result for any healthcare problem can be explored and arrive at (Yazdannik et al., 2017). It is a field of inquiry which is interdisciplinary in nature it is useful to get the political and socio-cultural context in the healthcare which also includes the linguistic approach and the relationship between the language and ideology can be established (Yazdannik et al., 2017). For example, to understand the impact of the sociological concept on the healthcare of a particular group of individual a researcher can undertake and discourse analysis. By this, a researcher can gain an understanding of the cultural specificity and its influence of the same on the healthcare of the group under study.

Q9. In the context of sociology, multiculturalism is the manner of the society in which the existing cultural diversity is tackled (Kymlicka, 2020). The main assumption of multiculturalism in the social context is that there are different cultures in a particular society which is the result of the dynamic nature of the society in which there is migration to and fro (Kymlicka, 2020). In a multicultural society, the assumption that all the cultures can co-exist with complete harmony and make that happen there is the formulation of policies. One of the challenges of multiculturalism is the difference of healthcare which exists between immigrants and refugee population in Australia. Immigrants or refugees when they enter Australia they are given visa which give them the status of immigrant or refugee and depending on the visa there is a difference in the medical services that are availed. Depending on the cultural background the healthcare needs also vary as few of the diseases have more inclination in specific cultures (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018). The cultural needs of healthcare are one of the main components which are included in the holistic concept of health and due to various reasons like socioeconomic status, discrimination and others it is seen that there exists a health disparity (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2018).

Q10. Social determinants of health of a person are the one in which a person is born and is living in such that it affects the life and health of a person. The factors that are included as social determinants are socioeconomic status, place of living, workplace, neighbourhood and others (Adler et al., 2016). The global context of health is such that there should be an equal level of health and healthcare that can be enjoyed by people from all walks of life in a particular nation. The social determinants of health play an important role in the inequitable distribution of the health and healthcare services in a country. Due to socioeconomic factors or due to the place of dwelling it is possible that the healthcare facilities are not available to people and it is a reason for the disparity in healthcare (Adler et al., 2016). For example, in Australia, it is seen that there is an inequitable distribution of healthcare facility in remote and rural areas. Living in remote or rural areas is one of the determinants of health and it causes disparity of health in a person.

References for Sociology of Health

Adler, N. E., Cutler, D. M., Jonathan, J. E., Galea, S., Glymour, M., Koh, H. K., &Satcher, D. (2016).Addressing social determinants of health and health disparities. National Academy of Medicine, 1-16. https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/56eb/a798933d31f4d83802f8b444be8dc8bf457a.pdf

Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2018). Immigrants in Australia: A health profile. https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/social-determinants/immigrants-in-australia-a-health-profile/contents/summary.

Bastos, J. L., Harnois, C. E., &Paradies, Y. C. (2018).Health care barriers, racism, and intersectionality in Australia. Social Science & Medicine199, 209-218. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2017.05.010.

Blijleven, V., Koelemeijer, K., Wetzels, M., & Jaspers, M. (2017). Workarounds emerging from electronic health record system usage: Consequences for patient safety, effectiveness of care, and efficiency of care. JMIR Human Factors4(4), e27. https://doi.org/10.2196/humanfactors.7978.

Cinaroglu, S. (2019). Politics and health outcomes: A path analytic approach. The International Journal of Health Planning and Management34(1), e824-e843.https://doi.org/10.1002/hpm.2699.

Cullerton, K., White, T., & Lee, A. (2019). Doctors rule: An analysis of health ministers’ diaries in Australia. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health16(13), 2440.https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16132440.

Gold, R., Cottrell, E., Bunce, A., Middendorf, M., Hollombe, C., Cowburn, S., ...&Melgar, G. (2017). Developing electronic health record (EHR) strategies related to health center patients' social determinants of health. The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine30(4), 428-447. https://doi.org/10.3122/jabfm.2017.04.170046.

Hall, P. (2017). Educating to'close the gap'between indigenous and non-indigenous Australia. Metaphor, (3), 6.https://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=111827851527179;res=IELHSS.

Joas, H. (2016). Value generalization: Limitations and possibilities of a communication about values. Power and Principle in the Market Place: On Ethics and Economics, 25.

Kymlicka, W. (2020). Solidarity in diverse societies: Beyond neoliberal multiculturalism and welfare chauvinism. In Minorities and Populism–Critical Perspectives from South Asia and Europe (pp. 41-62). Springer, Cham.https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-34098-8_4.

Marroquín, B., Tennen, H., & Stanton, A. L. (2017). Coping, emotion regulation, and well-being: Intrapersonal and interpersonal processes. In The happy mind: Cognitive contributions to well-being (pp. 253-274). Springer, Cham.https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-58763-9_14.

Pringle, N. N., & Thompson, P. J. (2019). Social Work, Psychiatry and the Law. Routledge.

Snir, I. (2018). What? Comes after postmodernism. Educational Philosophy and Theory50(14), 1637-1638. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131857.2018.1461391.

Tretheway, R., Taylor, J., & O’Hara, L. (2017). Finding new ways to practise critically: Applying a critical reflection model with Australian health promotion practitioners. Reflective Practice18(5), 627-640. https://doi.org/10.1080/14623943.2017.1307721.

Turner, J. H. (2017). Functionalism. The Wiley‐Blackwell Encyclopedia of Social Theory, 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781118430873.est0135.

Wranik, W. D., &Haydt, S. M. (2018).Funding models and medical dominance in interdisciplinary primary care teams: Qualitative evidence from three Canadian provinces. Human Resources for Health16(1), 38.https://doi.org/10.1186/s12960-018-0299-3.

Yazdannik, A., Yousefy, A., &Mohammadi, S. (2017). Discourse analysis: A useful methodology for health-care system researches. Journal of Education and Health Promotion6.https://doi.org/10.4103/jehp.jehp_124_15.

Yüksel, B., Küpçü, A., &Özkasap, Ö. (2017). Research issues for privacy and security of electronic health services. Future Generation Computer Systems68, 1-13. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.future.2016.08.011.

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