Advancements in technology are changing the world around us, impacting nearly every industry. While digital opportunities are making a large impact on health care, there are more factors paving the future of the landscape. For instance, the aging population and access to care both have a large effect on where the industry is headed. These trends may signify how health care professionals can move forward to better provide patient-centered care and positively impact outcomes for the future. Let’s take a closer look at how the aging population and access to care are changing the way patients receive the assistance they need:
An aging population
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the nation will experience an extensive growth in the percentage of the older population living in the next 30+ years. By 2050, the population of adults aged 65 and older is expected to be 83.7 million, which is nearly double the amount that was estimated for 2012 of 43.1 million. This will impact families, businesses and health care providers across the country. The demand for chronic care is expected to rise, which means the demand for health care employment and investment opportunities is projected to increase as well.
It is believed, however, that as life expectancy increases, disability will decrease, due to advancement in modern medicine that will slow disease progression and chronic illness in the future, according to the World Health Organization. Nonetheless, there are researchers who believe the opposite. That’s why prioritizing a new focus of care on this demographic and increasing the need for health care professionals in the workplace to prepare for the future is critical.
Barriers to access to care
As an obvious factor, financial barriers can reduce one’s likeness to receive care – especially those who live with a chronic condition. A survey conducted by the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Stony Brook University Medical Center found that 13.7 percent of the 11,274 diabetics in the survey reported financial barriers to access to care. This significantly reduced their ability to receive medical assessments and measurements which increases the likeliness of vascular morbidity.
As the Senate discusses a new health care bill – in efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare – patients living with pre-existing conditions may receive limited coverage, ultimately strengthening such barriers to care access.
Nonfinancial barriers impact patients’ ability to receive access to care as well. According to research led by Jeffrey T. Kullgren, M.D. at the University of Pennsylvania, nonfinancial barriers were classified as the following:
- Accommodation – Appointment systems and hours of operations meet patient’s ability to schedule appointments.
- Availability – The supply of clinicians, specialized programs and clinical facilities is adequate to serve patients.
- Accessibility – Transportation options and travel time between the locations of services.
- Acceptability – Accepting clinician characteristics, such as gender or ethnicity, or clinical neighborhood or type.
Upon conclusion, while 18.5 percent of participants stated affordability was their most common reason for unmet needs or delayed care, 21 percent stated that nonfinancial barriers were more frequent reasons for delayed care.
In the future of healthcare, policymakers should prioritize efforts to address nonfinancial issues through new models of health care or simple changes to accepting patients to existing systems.
How can you transform with the changing health care landscape?
As a leader in the health care industry, you will be expected to shift with the changes that will indefinitely occur. As Becker’s Hospital Review stated, you must be an effective leader in order to be able to transition with the operational, relational and analytic challenges you face as a leading health care professional.
Having an approachable personality can help you make a difference as changes continue to occur in your industry. It’s critical that health care administrators understand the importance of developing personable characteristics – not only skills and competencies – in the workplace moving forward. It’s also imperative that you’re willing to continue your education and grow your knowledge as the trends arise. Acknowledging the changing landscape can keep you at the forefront of the industry and prepare you foreign issues as they surface.
By pursuing your interest in the health management and leadership and earning your Master of Health Administration degree from the University of Cincinnati, you can prepare yourself with the tools you need to succeed in the ever-changing health care industry. For more information about our intensive curriculum, please contact us today.