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Challenges to Healthcare in the 21st Century

American healthcare in the 21st century is among the best in the world. There have been amazing strides made in diagnosing, preventing and therapeutic services within the past 100 years. Diseases that would have been a death sentence a few years ago can easily be cured and prevented today. Life expectancy has also increased from 47 to 77 in 25 years.

However, all Americans are not able to get this level of care. Millions of people are unable to afford healthcare. Many people have insurance but are unable to get access to adequate care. The biggest challenge is improving the quality and availability of care while reducing the escalating costs.

One way that this challenge can be met, is through managed care. Managed care involves using tools and techniques in order to improve the quality and reduce costs. It is not used by most private health benefits programs. However, the majority of critics believe this strategy has failed at its goal of keeping the costs down.

One of the major requirements of healthcare in the 21st century is electronic health records. There has been a lot of progress made, but there is still many gaps in coverage. When this system is adopted by more people, it will increase efficiency. It will also improve the quality and reduce costs.

Tax-free health savings accounts or HSA can allow people to have access to more affordable healthcare. It is estimated nearly half of companies were offering HSA plans in 2012. These plans allow people to have more control over their healthcare decisions.

Chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, which are linked to causes that are preventable, is one of the challenges to healthcare in the 21st century. It’s the largest threat to the health of the majority of people in America. It is estimated that 75 percent of healthcare costs are spent on those conditions.

Bad diet, smoking and a lack of exercise are some of the major factors that contribute to these diseases. Obesity rates have tripled within the past 25 years. Setting up the Federal Fund Prevention And Public Health, a part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act has been one step in the right direction. Public health interventions, such as encouraging positive behavior changes, has been shown to dramatically increase the impact of expanding coverage for health insurance.

Healthcare in the 21st century has several contrasts. On the one hand is the world’s best quality care, and on the other are soaring costs, inequalities in care, soaring cost and the increasing number of people without health insurance. There have been a number of things put in place to enhance quality, increase access, and restrain costs. Hopefully, some of these will work.

Success will bring a system that benefits the population and makes the country proud!

4 Responses so far.

  1. Bruce says:

    The consumerization of healthcare is one of the challenges I see in the future. Driven by the change in insurance, consumers are being more active in their healthcare decisions. Employers are shifting more healthcare cost onto consumers. New exchanges are more prone to require higher deductibles. Thus, patients are now willing to shop around for healthcare or even choose not to receive care if it is too expensive. As a result, overall hospital usage is down.

  2. Shane says:

    Forecasting the future of health care and health policy is an imperfect science. Among the predictions made in the mid-1980s were that there would be a physician surplus, a growing number of elderly people, an increase in the number of people in managed care plans, restructured health benefits, new technologies, more for-profit health care delivery, rising health care costs, and a restrained federal government role. All of these issues-with the exception of a physician surplus, which is still being debated-turned out to have an impact on health policy.

  3. Donna says:

    The United States health care system is the most expensive in the world, but contrary to this article, there is a report and prior editions which consistently show the U.S. underperforms relative to other countries on most dimensions of performance. Among the 11 nations studied in this reportAustralia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United Statesthe U.S. ranks last, as it did in the 2010, 2007, 2006, and 2004 editions.

  4. Herbert says:

    This industry track is open for any business who would like to learn about the forces shaping the evolution of healthcare, and to understand what opportunities exist for their business in this exciting market. Healthcare systems today have to address a host of different challenges posed by medical and scientific advancement. For companies active in healthcare this is a highly volatile and rapidly changing environment to operate in, but only few have started thinking proactively about what the future might look like.

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