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Revolutionizing Healthcare: How a Patient-Centered Approach is Changing the Medical System

A Robust Hybrid Logistic Infrastructure May be the Answer to Today’s Healthcare Barriers


Healthcare Infrastructure in United States
Photo by Author using Wonder Digital Art

Despite continual strides by leaders to revive healthcare from the crisis, only seven percent of American citizens are still satisfied with the current state. One thing is obvious: the United States healthcare system needs fundamental reform and overhaul. However, despite the prevailing sentiment that has dragged on for the past few decades, we are still looking for a transition in the positive direction. American healthcare, and most likely the healthcare around the globe, is yet to overcome eight major obstacles before we can see a transition in a favorable trend. These eight impediments, by themselves, independently contribute to the healthcare crisis and also closely affect one another.

Preventable Medical Errors are Still a Major Patient care Issue in American Healthcare.

Recent reports claim that today over 1 in 10 patients experience some form of harm due to medical errors in the United States healthcare. Among the latter, 12% cause permanent disability or even death. Medical error is among the top three leading causes of death in the United States, behind heart disease and cancer. This hidden preventable healthcare problem is costly, not only to the patient but also healthcare in general. The risk of preventable medical errors exponentially increases with physical fatigue, burnout, and inexperience. They can consequently lead to:

  1. Misdiagnosis

  2. Delayed Diagnosis

  3. Medication Error

  4. Faulty Medical Devices

  5. Infection

  6. Failure To Account For Surgical Equipment

  7. Improper Medical Device Placement

Healthcare leaders can reduce the risks and prevalence of human errors by implementing protocols and standards. Additionally, engaging patients in their care and partnering with them can reduce preventable medical errors. Nevertheless, one must also remember that the over-enforcement of protocols can, too, contribute to physician fatigue, burden, and mistakes.

The Poor Amenable Mortality Rate is Costly, yet Preventable

Premature deaths before reaching age 75 are prevalent in the United States. Also called the Amenable Mortality rate, healthcare leaders can potentially avoid it given adequate and timely healthcare. The study suggests the amenable mortality rate varies significantly across the country, with over twice the rate in some locations versus others. Demographic factors such as poverty, rural residence, and race influence these variations. Furthermore, various chronic health conditions such as asthma and diabetes play a role in doubling the amenable mortality rate. Some advocate universal healthcare coverage may reduce the amenable mortality rates. However, without optional healthcare delivery, planning, and execution, providing a range for all is doomed to fail.

Lack of Transparency is Straining the Healthcare Industry

Healthcare needs much time transparency. That ambiguity extends across all the industry segments, from operations and information technology to market and price. In particular, the United States healthcare market needs to follow the typical economist's vision; however, it doesn't. As healthcare consumers, patients know very little, if at all, about the pricing structure. And the emergence of a network of intermediaries and contracts with many stakeholders makes the healthcare system insecure and vulnerable to corruption. Lack of transparency has caused many citizens not to seek healthcare. Ambiguity in the healthcare system is why 44% of the population avoids quality medical care. This trend is presently growing, and cost uncertainty is to blame.

Difficulty Accessing a Good Doctor and Medical Care is Ongoing

The increasing administrative workload, poor technology usability, and emergence of value-based payment schemes have placed physicians under significant pressure. Many physicians leave medical practices because of bureaucracy, work burden, and burnout. Lifetime physician burnout (at least once) today reaches almost 79%. That, coupled with relatively lower pay and an inefficient operational model, exacerbates poor patient access to quality medical care. Locating the correct physician is essential to ensure top-notch experience and knowledge and to find a doctor with whom patients can relate and build personal connections.

Healthcare Expenditure is Skyrocketing

Healthcare is expensive and continues the upward trend by the day. Although this is not just an American problem, the country leads every other nation worldwide in healthcare expenditure. Federal health expenditures embody the dollars spent on healthcare and connected activities. These include private and public health insurance, research, and public health actions. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), in 2021, federal health spending reached $4.3 trillion or $12,914 per person. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association relates the rising healthcare costs in the United States to 1) a Growing population, 2) Aging seniors, 3) Disease prevalence or incidence, 4) High medical service utilization, and 5) Service price and intensity. Although there is truth to the said list of reasons, one can never eliminate lack of transparency, physician burnout, and intermediary meddling as the source of increasing healthcare expenses.

Lack of Insurance Coverage is Still a Major Issue in American Healthcare

True, being able to pay for quality medical care is essential. And, since healthcare coverage has become the standard for medical service coverage, thus it comes as a significant problem. Then again, in the absence of price transparency and the presence of too many intermediary stakeholders between patients and the physician, even ensuring healthcare coverage for all will not cut a deal. Despite implementing the Obama Care or Affordable Care Act, as of 2021, 27.5 million nonelderly individuals were uninsured. 1 in 5 uninsured adults did not receive medical care in 2021, and that was due to high cost. The high cost of health insurance is an excellent concern for uninsured nonelderly adults and children. The extent of increased prices as a reason for being uninsured has proliferated in the recent decade and continues for everyone.


Physician and Nursing Shortage Will Continue Unless a Fundamental Solution Implemented

As outlined earlier, the physician shortage is a problem in the United States and most developed countries. That is also valid for other disciplines like nursing. Some leaders speculate the physician shortage to 4 elements:

  1. Shifting physician and patient population

  2. Rural hospital shortage

  3. Limited number and capacity of Medical Schools and residency programs

  4. Physician Churn and Burnout

Overall, the need for more medical professionals is, in fact, a maldistribution of physicians and nurses. " healthcare system does not offer enough incentives for these professionals to work in underserved areas. Of course, increased healthcare needs due to the rising population with chronic diseases and early physician retirement due to unfair administrative burdens are Thepatients'significant. Addressing physician shortage is interdependent on prevailing policies and infrastructures. Indeed, our healthcare system needs a robust logistics infrastructure and physician and patient-friendly policies to survive the crisis. Finally, Inefficiencies of Medical Services Delivered Adversely Impacts Overall of the Healthcare System Medical care efficiency is just as crucial for healthcare as in any other industry. Ensuring a Lean business model is vital, however, as long as it is not at the expense of patient satisfaction and quality of care. Minimizing unnecessary clinic encounters and providing virtual care when there is no clear indication for an in-person visit is the cornerstone of efficient medical practice and patient care. That invariably applies to the workflow process efficiency during the encounters, be they virtual or in-person. Efficient patient care requires addressing physician shortages and efficient resource management. It, likewise, demands streamlining the patient and care workflow process. Finally, the system must focus on reducing patient readmission to the emergency room and revisit medical centers. Once again, healthcare benefits from a modern hybrid infrastructure that extends a decentralized collaborative network of professionals, stakeholders, and technologies. The 21st-century infrastructural revolution will mobilize and replicates points of care away from medical facilities to patients' home via a secure cyber network. That is called Cyber Physical Human System. Cyber-physical Human System ensures collaboration, real-time interaction, and transparency. Most of all, it will place patients at the center of their care by engaging them, which is vital for improving health and reducing healthcare costs while alleviating nuisances.

References

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