The healthcare industry has repeatedly proven its importance to humanity’s progress and growth. Healthcare professionals don’t just help us battle dangerous diseases, but help develop protocols that improve our quality of life immensely. This sector’s progress through the years has helped increase our lifespan, improve holistic wellness, and reduce the severity of several dangerous diseases.
However, this progress does not mean there’s no work to be done. We now find ourselves in an era of unprecedented change that heavily influences the healthcare sector. The sector faces several novel challenges now, and tackling these challenges is vital to keep up with a rapidly changing world.
Although there are many issues that the healthcare sector is currently facing, some require more urgent attention. If you’re interested in learning more, keep reading below.
Undoubtedly, one of the most alarming issues that the healthcare system is facing is physician shortages. Previously, primary care physicians made up the majority of healthcare providers available across the system.
In recent years, however, more and more physicians have opted to get specialisations and ditch primary care entirely. And this translates to an immense shortage of primary care physicians who provide preliminary care and deal with basic health issues.
Physician shortages were incredibly challenging to deal with during the Covid pandemic when there were extremely long queues of patients with even basic symptoms. Moreover, the overburdening of the system meant that even the patients getting access weren’t getting the optimal quality of care.
Addressing this primary care physician shortage is vital to ensuring that there are proper protocols to assess and treat basic symptoms. Moreover, primary care physicians can determine which patients need further specialised care and which can be easily treated at home without burdening other staff members.
In today’s tech-savvy age, technological systems have taken over almost every aspect of our lives. The healthcare system is no exception; in recent years, all patient documentation and record-keeping have shifted online. And this has ultimately made it much easier for doctors to update records in real-time so that all concerned parties can get instant updates.
Moreover, in many ways, it’s made keeping records much more hassle-free and is something healthcare professionals can do ASAP.
However, moving to cloud-based and other online platforms also comes with its pitfalls in the form of cybersecurity issues. Patient data is incredibly sensitive, and healthcare professionals must maintain strict privacy protocols.
But storing sensitive information online may open it up to potential leaks and breaches. These can be incredibly harmful to the patients and reduce their trust in the healthcare system. It can also make it easy for external parties to access and manipulate the data if it hasn’t been stored properly.
Telehealth is not a new phenomenon, but it has gained increased visibility following the outbreak of the Covid pandemic. In this scenario, many healthcare professionals employed telehealth to attend to patients without risking unnecessary exposure. Telehealth protocols normally involve video or audio calls where patients can describe their symptoms and get attention.
However, many healthcare institutions have since abandoned the idea, with most doctors preferring to have patients visit them directly. This practice risks unnecessary exposure to Covid and various other dangerous diseases.
Moreover, it leads to unnecessary overburdening of the healthcare system as most patients have symptoms that can be easily assessed and treated online.
Adapting to better telehealth protocols is vital to cater to patients in rural areas and those too incapacitated to come in for routine checkups. To improve telehealth, healthcare professionals need to work towards developing apps designed for this very purpose, where they can keep track of online patients too.
Dedicated video-based platforms can allow patients to show and describe their issues as accurately as possible and ensure they get the best treatment.
Focus on patient-centric care
Recently, the merits of patient-centric care have become increasingly obvious, but not all healthcare institutes have implemented them. To the layperson, all care may seem patient-centric, but this isn’t the case. Traditionally, care has been treatment-centric, with healthcare professionals primarily focusing on ensuring the treatment is carried out as it should.
However, this mode of action often leads to healthcare professionals prioritizing successful treatment administration over patient well-being. The newest research stresses how it can be hard for even the best treatments to be effective if they cause the patient unbearable physical or mental discomfort.
Thus, healthcare professionals must tailor their treatments to the patient’s individual needs instead of using a one-size-fits-all approach. Addressing the client’s emotional concerns, such as stress and anxiety, can be extremely beneficial to improving overall outcomes.
Moreover, something as simple as clear, assertive communication can go a long way in boosting your patient’s trust in the healthcare system.
Every development in the healthcare sector rests on new, groundbreaking research. Without research, it would be impossible to develop treatments for novel diseases, understand their patterns, prevent spread, and protect vulnerable populations. Healthcare research has an extremely high significance for human life; without it, humanity would still be dealing with several dangerous diseases.
However, in recent years healthcare funding, and research funding, in particular, has begun to taper off. Conducting high-quality clinical trials requires a lot of funding, apart from time and effort. These include lab expenses, paying researchers, equipment charges, dealing with subjects, etc.
Healthcare funding is now receiving cuts at a federal level, which cannot be substantiated even by charitable giving. It is thus vital to advocate for greater grants and healthcare budgeting so that healthcare professionals and researchers can work towards tackling dangerous diseases which still run rampant.
The healthcare sector is the most vital structure of any society. Without a thriving healthcare sector, it can be challenging for people to progress and cope with even the most basic diseases. Although this sector has evolved immensely, there is still a long way to go in ensuring that we deal with evolving needs. This guide highlights some of the most pressing challenges the healthcare system faces and how we can tackle them.
Ellen Diamond did her degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. She is interested in mental health, wellness, and lifestyle.