Health care in the United States has seen its fair share of change throughout the years, as technology, methodologies and access are constantly at the forefront of these alterations.
Despite the evaluation of a health care system often proving a laborious task due to the restriction in the availability of data, there are a number of points to observe that will provide information on how the industry has adapted over time.
Having worked as a hospitalist in Walterboro and Beaufort, South Carolina, Masud Habibullah M.D. understands the huge modifications that have come forth in the healthcare industry.
Care Delivery: Settings & Efficiency
Masud Habibullah M.D. claims that integrated care across the sequence of care delivery from intense care to maintenance or services performed at home has become a central component for improved efficiency of healthcare in the U.S.
More on-site and near-site clinics are expected to be introduced, ones which will be employer-based, and it is thought that this growth should reflect through alternative retail or convenient care clinics.
Clinics of this variety are predicted to be further promoted in 2020, as well as telehealth options for emergency departments or urgent care clinics. These approaches that focus on improving access to care might also lessen its total cost for patients.
Consumers will likely have greater options to access care, potentially through employer-owned on-site clinics or community-based convenient care clinics, which will come with lower fees or none at all.
New efficiencies in acute or chronic care delivery will likely supply savings, while also seeing care systems deploy more adequate services and levels of care by introducing a greater, increasingly consistent integrated system of care.
Decreasing Medicare Hospital Admissions
Being permitted to access appropriate primary health care can help prevent a patient from encountering certain illnesses and conditions. Not all hospital admissions are avoidable, but properly managing diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and hypertension can certainly assist in reducing these visits.
Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) circulated data that showed Medicare hospital admissions for beneficiaries aged 65 to 74 decreased for nearly all ambulatory care-sensitive conditions from 2007 to 2017. Lower extremity amputations were the sole exception to this impressive change.
Better Communication with Hospital Staff
Masud Habibullah M.D. believes that a healthcare system’s quality can also be gauged by the patients’ feedback on hospital care. Medicare patient self-reports demonstrate that hospital staff have improved on several measures of communication in a decade.
A large number of Medicare beneficiaries have reported that communication has improved in multiple areas in recent years: explaining medicines and their side effects; constantly providing discharge information; and always responding when the patient utilized the call button or requested bathroom assistance.
More Women Receiving Biopsy in Crucial Moments
In 2014, 94.1 percent of women with clinical Stage I-IIb breast cancer received axillary node dissection or sentinel lymph node biopsy at the time of lumpectomy or mastectomy.
This was accomplished to ensure proper diagnosis and locate the possible spread of cancer to the lymph nodes, Masud Habibullah M.D. says.
Hospital-Acquired Conditions Decreased
Hospital-acquired conditions (HACs), picked up by people when they are in a hospital and possibly preventable through the application of evidence-based guidelines, might include adverse drug events, pressure ulcers, ventilator-associated pneumonia, catheter-associated infections and air embolisms.
Fortunately, between 2014 and 2017, the number of all types of HACs decreased noticeably, with the exception of pressure ulcers and surgical site infections.
A Decline in Re-Admission & Mortality Rates
Among Medicare beneficiaries who are 65 and older, 30-day hospital readmission rates saw roughly an 8 percent improvement from 2007 to 2017. Masud Habibullah M.D. notes that this is usually a direct result of improved quality of care, a boost that can most assuredly maintain its upward momentum for certain diagnoses and service in the future.
Additionally, the 30-day mortality rates found in Medicare patients for heart attack (acute myocardial infarction), ischemic stroke (stemming from blood clots) and pneumonia improved marginally in a three-year span (2013 to 2016).
Masud Habibullah M.D. concludes that recent improvements to the healthcare industry have been astounding to see and that the future is looking bright for even greater improvements to healthcare in the coming years.