Ageing population, end-of-life care, rising rates of cancer, mental illness, digital technology and evolving patient expectations are some of the healthcare trends that we see right now and are likely to persist in the coming years and decades.
For instance, palliative care provided in hospitals rose by 28% (comparing 2011-12 and 2015-16). The rising rates of cancer is a primary reason (age is the biggest risk factor in getting cancer plus more people now are living longer). It’s a similar case in mental health-related services wherein $9 billion was spent in 2015-16. We also have to consider other specialised treatment services that involve alcohol and drug use and suicide prevention.
The evolving patient expectations
Whether it’s the result of our modern tendency to get something instantly or not, more and more patients now feel that they’re waiting longer than necessary to get proper medical attention. According to a survey, up to 21% of people aged 15 and above felt they waited longer than acceptable to see a medical specialist (2016-17 data). The longer wait times could have been the result of lack of medical personnel and inefficient processes.
As a result, more and more Australians take matter in their own hands by using technology to monitor their health in real time. This is made possible by technological inventions and connectivity (e.g. wearing a fitness device to record how much they exercise or using a smartphone to track what they consume).
Digital technology also provides opportunities to improve continuity of care. For instance, an online platform (My Health Record) allows people and their authorised healthcare providers to securely access relevant health information at anytime (including Medicare claims history, hospital discharge information, diagnostic imaging reports and details of allergies and information). This provides quick and convenient access to information for faster and better healthcare delivery especially during emergencies. This also helps healthcare professionals improve medication safety, reduce unnecessary test duplication and free up more time to focus on more critical activities.
Focusing on the patient
Understanding the trends mentioned above can help healthcare professionals better allocate resources so that they can better meet the demands and requirements of patients. In addition, this understanding can also help professionals find more opportunities to focus on what really matters: the wellbeing of their patients.
Whether it’s acute care or end-of-life care, it’s also important to focus on each patient’s daily experience. For example, for acute care at least five days might be required before the patient can go home. Aside from the lost productivity and opportunity to experience more of life, patients might need to endure more pain and discomfort than is necessary.
Here at Careleda we specialise in bringing comfort to the cared by manufacturing, exporting and importing healthcare seating and care platforms to the Acute Care, Aged Care and Specialist Care Sectors from rehabilitation to palliative, procedural to therapy and short to long term care. No matter the current and future trends, the patients’ comfort will always be a priority. Contact us today if you require more information.