Our healthcare system at breaking point

The following is an excerpt from an article by Phillips Design which I felt accurately summarizes the challenges faced by current healthcare systems and how it is crucial to think out of the box to manage this changing healthcare landscape.

These dynamic forces of change batter the healthcare industry from different angles.As the population becomes ever larger, more widely distributed and diversified, and as we suffer the costly consequences of increasingly damaging lifestyles, the result is greater demand on a system already straining to bursting point.Traditional models of healthcare are breaking down and being challenged as they simultaneously face pressure to adapt while confronting several systemic obstacles to change.
“Participants [in healthcare] compete to shift costs to one another, accumulate bargaining power, and limit services.This kind of competition does not create value for patients, but erodes quality, fosters inefficiency, creates excess capacity and drives up administrative costs.” Michael E.Porter & Elisabeth OlmsteadTeisberg,‘Redefining Healthcare’
Clinical teams are facing increased pressure to perform more efficiently, consistently and safely in delivering improved outcomes.They need to be able to stay up-to- date with clinical advances, and communicate effectively with patients as well as an increasingly networked global peer group.Workforce recruitment, retention, burnout and ageing are all factors confronting today’s healthcare providers.
“The nursing workforce is ageing. Over the next 10 to 15 years [industrialized] countries will experience a large exodus of nurses from their workforce as nurses retire just at a time when demand for nursing and healthcare is on the rise; one of the reasons being the growth in the older population.”
International Centre for Human Resources in Nursing,‘An Ageing Nursing Workforce’
Hospital management teams face impossible choices to balance cost and quality of care. Healthcare processes tend to be complex, filled with redundancies and characterized by bottlenecks that ultimately affect quality and effectiveness. League tables and new quality-of-care metrics pressurize facilities to perform in new ways and with tougher financial and legal constraints.
Healthcare institutions are steeped in tradition, organized in silos and clearly-defined professional hierarchies.As care shifts outwards into new areas, delivering optimal care means working across settings and with new care roles.This requires time-consuming organizational change, to create an open and innovative mindset that can foster new modes of professional collaboration.
Hospitals were once the sole portals of healthcare, reflecting the identity and lifestyles of the communities they served. Now, however, they must differentiate their services from new competitors such as pharmacies and standalone clinics that occupy the healthcare space between hospital and home. Hospitals strive to formulate distinct healthcare brands in order to generate loyalty in both patients and staff.
People bring their expectation for choice with them when they need healthcare services.They may confidently challenge clinical opinion, shop around globally for healthcare solutions and consider alternative approaches. Yet, at the same time, they need support in personal healthcare decision-making because they still experience a certain degree of anxiety in this new, fragmented care landscape.
It would be no exaggeration to conclude that, given these factors, the global healthcare industry faces a crisis, a paradigm change. However, there are plenty of opportunities for innovation within this crisis.

Reading this filled me with hope akin to discovering an oasis in a desert. I hope to better myself to meet this new revolution when it arises.

P/S: You may access the full article here.


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