May 2, 2012

Slow, Much Needed Change, Coming to the Healthcare System

In the next ten years United States healthcare system is going to need to adapt, learning how to provide care to more people for less money. In its current state the healthcare industry is a mess thanks to being overly regulated, highly divided, and excessively complex. While there have been attempts to increase coordination between healthcare providers and improve integration of care, nothing has worked thus far. Some feel we have reached a tipping point however, a sink or swim moment for the industry thanks to the continued increase in costs with no real increase in quality of services provided.


Healthcare providers must become more efficient in order to stay ahead in the upcoming years. One fix that will help cut down no costs is to limit unnecessary medical tests. In a study conducted last year by the Mount Sinai Medical Center and the Weill Cornell Medical College in New York found that there was about 6.8 billion spent yearly on 12 unnecessarily over used test and treatments. Another area that needs massive improvement is the coordinating of treatments with other providers, and offering cost-effective care in areas that are in need of such. The push to make all medical files electronic and easier to access between medical facilities will help to both speed up and improve the care that doctors, surgeons and nurses will be able to provide their patients.


Providers must move away from operating in a closed-door manner and start to form collaborative healthcare networks. This should not only help cut down on costs, but also improve turn around times and patients overall health. Another option that could help fix the over prescribing of tests and treatments would be bundling services together. Cutting down on hospital remissions and reducing reimbursement rates also need to be implemented in order to obtain a more efficient system of healthcare provision.


The needed over-haul of our current system can no longer be put off or avoided. With an aging population, broken care and a lethargic economy all weighing down hard on our current healthcare systems back, the time for change is now. Providers up till the recent economic collapse have been operating at optimal levels individually but that will no longer work. The increase in patients needing care and the lowering of funds in which hospitals will have access to mean that hospital systems must come together. With all the healthcare changes that could be made, the real winners at the end of the day will be the patients.



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