Written by Fatima, 3rd Place Future of Health Competition Winner
“We all want our healthcare to be effective, we would like to be seen in a timely fashion, we would like to feel as though our provider is focused on us and our current illness at that particular moment, and we would like for the course of action with regard to our care to be safe.” -Maya Angelou Center for Health Equity, 2012
Healthcare has been changing and that process of change will continue in upcoming years. The healthcare system in 50 years will be significantly different from what we have today. Many techniques have been adopted to make the healthcare system better, with some leading to downfall, while the rest of them gave healthcare a new shape for success. If healthcare professionals think strategically, significant changes can occur in the healthcare system. In the future, healthcare will involve more emphasis on technology, quality, and the overall structure of healthcare systems.
In the future, healthcare providers will emphasize technology more than they have in past. For instance, the vulnerable population, such as those living in rural areas, may not be able to afford the cost of reaching urban areas for healthcare services. The culture of this population and the cost related to distance and time causes difficulty for these patients to see the provider. Thus, healthcare can put more focus on telemedicine so that all individuals receive basic health services before having to travel. Finally, it is important that the health system administration prioritizes telemedicine and directs the appropriate support to the infrastructure necessary for a successful program. By using telemedicine technology, patients in rural areas can receive the same healthcare as those in urban areas. Eventually, this will lead to the overall success of patient health.
The other main factor in the future of healthcare is the focus on quality. Providers can supply a variety of services to patients, but the significant question is if these health services offer quality care to patients. There is no point in providing expensive health services if the quality or value to the patient is limited. Quality of care is not only related to specific treatment of patients’ diseases, but also to the overall satisfaction of the patient. If the patient is not satisfied with the customer service of the provider or the effectiveness of the treatment, then the quality will decrease. In the healthcare industry, the customers are patients. Therefore, healthcare professionals must place the needs of the patient as their first priority. When providers incorporate patients into their culture, we will have better and more effective outcomes in patients’ health. With an increase in quality, the patient can stay out of the hospital.
Healthcare systems will eventually change in upcoming years. Now, we see Minute Clinics, Assisted Living Homes for elderly, Urgent Care Centers, and so on. In the future, I believe there will be different centers for specific populations with specific diseases. This will give providers an opportunity to focus on specific populations in one center, resulting in better outcomes. In addition to different centers, the insurance system in the healthcare system will change. Even after the Affordable Care Act (ACA), many Americans are still uninsured because they cannot afford the insurance premiums and deductibles. The insurance system should require providers to offer basic healthcare needs with less premiums and deductibles for those who cannot afford it.
Moreover, the biggest change in healthcare will be fee-for-service clinics. Many acute diseases become chronic when patients do not see the provider. If there are fee-for-service clinics where insurances are not required, then people could seek more health services. Patients could go to the clinic on a regular basis and get blood tests done to see if there are any health concerns. This will allow patients to take care of their health first and foremost.
Vision of the Future
All in all, the future of healthcare is going to be markedly different in 50 years. We will still use technology, put forth efforts to achieve quality care, and strive to change or adapt different techniques to have the best healthcare systems possible. Nothing is impossible if there is an urge to put the right things together. As technology progresses, we can have new machines which will treat the patients with little or no harm. Developers can enhance applications to support secure communication between patients and providers. Furthermore, the quality of the overall healthcare system needs to improve in order to provide effective treatment to patients. I believe all these factors will lead to better outcomes in the healthcare system.