In the United States, we spend a lot on healthcare. In fact, we spend more than any other developed Western country. But what are we getting for all that spending?
Not much, as it turns out. Despite spending far more on healthcare, Americans are in poorer health than their global neighbors. We have advanced technology and some of the best doctors in the world, but we can’t seem to help people live healthier lives with our healthcare system.
Things need to change. Healthcare is something that everyone needs. When it becomes unaffordable for the average American while providing poor outcomes, something has gone wrong. Let’s take a look at some of the ways we could improve healthcare in the future.
Ways to Improve the Quality of Healthcare
Healthcare shortfalls are systemic, and all organizations within the industry need to see where they’re struggling to serve patients and make some big changes. Even without an overhaul of the entire system, there are ways to improve the quality of healthcare in the US without waiting for policy changes or other major shifts.
One of the most important steps organizations can take in providing better care is to get objective. Collect data and really take a look at patient outcomes. Where is there a need for improvement? Having this baseline is key for making improvements.
Healthcare organizations can use this data to set ambitious goals. How they improve care will depend on what the data reveals, but two key goals should be involving patients more in their own care and improving access to care.
Access is a huge issue for improving outcomes overall. Many people avoid going to the doctor until things get really bad because they are uninsured, have poor insurance, or don’t have transportation and time off to go to the doctor.
Skipping preventative care visits is a huge issue affecting the health of Americans. Education can help, but accessibility remains one of the biggest obstacles to maintaining overall health in the United States. Collaboration could help with this goal and reduce how fragmented the current system is.
How Mobile Health Clinics Help Underserved Populations in Health Care
Wealthy people in the United States can get some of the best possible care. But for underserved communities, issues like chronic health conditions, obesity, and early death are extremely common.
Access is the underlying problem for many of these Americans. About 83 million people live in underserved areas, meaning that they don’t have access to primary care. The vast majority of these Americans are low-income and many are uninsured. They are more likely to be non-white and live in rural areas where transportation to health facilities is an issue.
Mobile clinics could be part of the solution. These clinics bring the doctors to the patients, eliminating transportation and access issues. Patients might receive preventative care and education or treatment for a variety of chronic health problems.
In addition to bringing the doctor to patients’ doorsteps, mobile clinics have another major advantage: they build trust. There is a lot of justified distrust of medical professionals among underserved communities. Mobile clinics help to build bridges and restore residents’ faith in doctors.
Improving Quality Management in Healthcare
There’s a lot of waste within the American healthcare system and a history of care that was not patient-focused. Today, organizations need to focus on improving quality management and delivering the best possible care to all patients. By shifting to a results-based model and making care more collaborative, results begin to matter more than the number of procedures or patients.
Healthcare Improvement – the 10 Year Roadmap
To improve healthcare, we’re going to need change at all levels. Federal and state policies will play a role, but organizations will also have to step up. Fortunately, the industry has cutting-edge technology to help solve its biggest problems.
Data will drive decision-making in the coming years. By mapping patient outcomes, organizations can determine which factors have the biggest influence on success or failure. Smart hospitals will make care more efficient, reducing costs. It will also help assist in public health initiatives aimed at improving the health of entire populations.
We’ll also see an increase in personalized care and wearables. After years of simply “following the doctor’s orders” more and more patients are understanding that their voice matters! Healthcare providers have a daunting task ahead of them in the next decade, but for the sake of our health, we have to demand a better future.