Though people are living longer, it also means that there’s now a greater strain on the health system alongside population increases too. More beds are needed, with more wards to accommodate them and doctors and nurses to oversee them. Resources and funding run thinner too, and elderly people with non-fatal conditions don’t receive the support they need.
Consequently, it’s worth asking; what’s the future of our health system and our aging population?
Less cures, more support?
People are living longer, and what was a death sentence a few decades ago even isn’t always one today. There’re numerous cures and treatments for multiple ailments, and things like cancer are being beaten back better than ever. Live expectancies are up, but because of this, support for ailments that aren’t immediately fatal has started to dwindle.
A balance needs to be struck here, with more people than ever living with conditions like diabetes, dementia, heart disease and more. Because of an aging population, greater support is needed to help people manage these conditions, and now that need has been recognised it’s quite likely significant changes will be made here.
Greater technological support
Most people have heard the complaints surrounding doctor’s handwriting skills. They also have the capacity to lose documents too, or store away old data in clogged up filing cabinets that’re on the verge of overflowing. It’s a messy process, but the pen and paper has slowly started to be stashed away forever in healthcare.
Doctors and nurses are relying on things like data management tools, EHR and AI to help them process diagnostic reports and maintain patient flow. Moreover, electronic patient records help them reduce the need for paperwork, instead granting them access to real-time digital data that can help them determine exactly how healthy a patient is without rigorous questioning or note taking. These technologies eliminate a lot of wasted time, something which can ultimately save a patient’s life.
When hospitals are overwhelmed with the sheer volume of patients, doctors can find themselves stretched extremely thin. Consequently, they can’t always find the hours or even minutes to set aside so that they can spend time with their patients. Often, a quick check-up is given, but the visits are often rushed and unpleasant for both parties.
However, it’s possible that the future could see doctors devoting more time to their patients with more personable interactions, now that technology has eased up patient flow and saved doctor’s time. There could be room for working relationships to blossom between a doctor and patient, and for them to develop a strong and steady report. After all, loneliness can be deadly and is a big problem amongst the older generations, so these daily interactions could help their wellbeing significantly.
The future of the health system and an aging population, for the most part, revolves around a sense of time management. In trying to give elderly patients more time, doctors are employing the latest and greatest technologies to support their efforts. After that, they can offer a more personable, social and supportive experience to their patients, in place of one that’s recently been a cold and rushed ordeal.