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Global Healthcare - Challenges (Part Two)

Posted by Health Entrepreneur 02/14/2016

Here we continue to analyze the primary challenges faced by populations all over the world to deliver high quality care at a reasonable cost. Although some challenges are unique to some nations, issues related to access continue to reverberate across the world. Understanding these challenges could provide a motivated individual the necessary background how to tackle a problem by adding value using his entrepreneurial tool kit.
 

Missed Part One? CLICK HERE!


Second Major Issue affecting Global Health – Cost and Quality of Healthcare

 

Whether it is the recession riddled Europe or the US which spends 18 percent GDP on healthcare, both private and public fund systems are stressed economically, while costs have become unsustainable and unaffordable. Unfortunately higher medical expenditure does not mean better treatment nor does it correlate with better results or quality medical care even in the developed countries. Increase in health care costs can be primarily attributed to factors like prolonged hospital stays, expensive diagnostics, inefficient processes and overuse/misuse of medications.

Does greater spend translate to better health?

As history has shown, the answer is a disappointing no!

 

All countries should be doing ‘something’ to improve their health care systems. This would ensure that the resources thus released / freed could be used to cover more costs, people and services. Some thoughts to achieve this:

 

Adopting a more strategic approach to providing and health services, eg. buying services based on health requirements of the population, payments made to providers based on performance

 

Private-sector health facilities are not seen to be more or less efficient than government facilities and this seems to largely depend on the setting, so privatization would solely not solve the problem

 

There can be assistance from donors who contribute effectively by aiding in the development of domestic financing institutions and reducing fragmentation in the way funds are delivered (for instance the Gates Foundation)

Reducing fragmentation at the global level could be another effective method to ensure that money spent is well utilized for healthcare!  In a nutshell, effective governance is the key to improving equity.

Third Major Issue – Technological transformation and digital innovation

 

Through out the world, healthcare systems are recognizing the need for technological innovation and advancement. Data management and health technology would be necessary to facilitate treatment options and new diagnostic methods.

 

This in turn could lead to huge increase in costs whereby private and public health care providers/insurers can find opportunities to restructure care delivery models promoting efficient use of resources.

 

In an era of cost reductions and reforms, acquiring and leveraging technology innovations would require financial investments that health care professions and providers will find a challenge, even in developed countries.

 

How technology-enabled health care systems are producing an immense volume of information and data and how these can be interpreted is important. Availability, integrity and confidentiality of such information becomes important and much depends on this.


Fourth Major issue – Adapting to market forces

 

There is an urgent need and requirement for health care providers and health plans to rethink the existing business models in order to face the challenges posed by emerging trends and simultaneously embrace the opportunities they present.

Scaling to prosper   

Rapid consolidation among healthcare providers has been the norm lately and the stage has been set to enable convergence of market forces. In spite of the intensified regulations and scrutiny, horizontal and vertical consolidation is on the increase. With the shift to an ecosystem of service providers and products, cross-sector convergence will also increase.

Increasing role played by the Government

Regulator, Payer, Market – shaper: these are the many roles played by the Government in the global healthcare sector. One could find it difficult to grasp the relevance and the need for this.

 

Talent and skills gap
 

With both developed and developing countries finding their health care needs growing, they are in a constant struggle to find adequate trained, qualified health care professionals as well as physicians and nurses.

Consumerism

There is seen a major shift with patients being faced with large deductibles and cost-sharing for services and treatments – these include medical devices and pharma products of special nature.

 

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