The health care industry is set to undergo some major developments in the near future as demographic and policy changes start to take effect. Meanwhile, technology continues to drive health care in interesting new directions.
One of the main challenges facing the health care industry is the declining ratio of primary care physicians to patients. As the Baby Boomer generation begins to enter old age, PCPs will be forced to manage ever-greater numbers of patients with chronic conditions, which consume vast quantities of medical resources. Demographic forecasts predict that the number of people aged 65 or older will grow by 18 percent by 2015, which represents an increase of 7 million people.
The health care industry must adapt to meet the needs of these older patients, many of whom will be facing the common challenges of old age, such as chronic physical conditions or dementia. One solution to the shortage of physicians could be for health care professionals to adopt more efficient ways of working.
Electronic health records are an efficiency-boosting solution to some of the problems faced by the health care industry. In 2015, the health care industry is expected to spend $3.8 billion on EHR software. This software can facilitate the processing of insurance claims, automatically schedule appointments for patients and send reminders to increase attendance rates. It also allows patients to access their test results without having to come into the physician's office.
Remote patient monitoring is likely to be a key trend in the near future. Electronic devices can track patient health markers, allowing physicians to monitor chronic conditions such as diabetes without the patient having to attend frequent appointments. This technology saves time for both physicians and patients. By 2015, the health care industry is predicted to spend $295 million on remote patient monitoring.
Patients are increasingly keen to take charge of their own health care. According to Modern Healthcare, more than half a billion people will be using apps to keep track of their health by 2015. As this trend continues, it may be necessary for the FDA to regulate health care apps to ensure that they are safe for patients to use.
Patients are also taking to the Internet to find out more about their medical conditions and using services such as personal DNA analysis to assess their risks of developing various diseases. Armed with this information, this new generation of patients is better informed than their parents or grandparents, and the health care industry will have to adapt to meet their needs.
The health care industry is rapidly evolving. Some of the most important trends in 2015 include the adoption of electronic health records, patient use of health care apps and online sources of knowledge, and the increasing demand for health care as the Baby Boomer generation enters old age.
Photo courtesy of khunaspix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net