According to data presented in 2021, the American healthcare industry is worth more than $800 billion. Following this statistic, you can deduce that the US spends twice more as most countries on the healthcare sector. Furthermore, 60% of the industry’s revenue comes from patient care alone. However, despite its importance, the healthcare sector has numerous challenges in its path that make it difficult for the industry to provide optimal care.
This is because, within the healthcare sector, the staff has multiple tasks to perform; these include ensuring patients have a positive experience, maintaining transparency while issuing medical bills, and protecting sensitive data online. Hence, the question arises, how can the healthcare sector overcome all these problems and continue providing excellent care? Here’s what you need to know:
- Mitigate Malpractice
The primary job of every hospital is to care for its patients and look after them well. But, when you are negligent, reckless, and unable to keep up with the needs of your patients, it can lead to malpractice. Medical negligence can severely impact the healthcare sector. Not only does it cause massive financial losses to the industry, but it can also jeopardize the reputation of any hospital found guilty of this act. Numerous malpractice cases include failure to treat patients on time, misdiagnosis, prescription errors, and birth injuries.
As a result, when charged with malpractice in medicine, the hospital and the staff involved will need to legally settle the case, which may cost thousands of dollars or more. Hospitals need to standardize their care, ensuring they can deliver quality care. When patients are happy with their hospital visits, it boosts their retention rate and drastically reduces malpractice risk.
Additionally, patients who are satisfied with their caregivers are more likely to follow their doctor’s advice and attend all follow-up examinations. In order to do so, hospitals should hire staff members with years of experience working with all types of patients and can further train junior workers. Likewise, a hospital should review and revisit its policies each year to become more inclusive and easy to follow. Quality care also includes using electronic health charts and hospital portals to record and maintain patient data to reduce discrepancies and errors in the information.
- Avoid Cybersecurity Threats
Technology has seeped into every sector, including the healthcare industry. Patient data is now digitized. Details like personal data, medical records, and payment methods are available online. While this has made hospital work more accessible, it has also made patients susceptible to threats like cybersecurity attacks. In 2021, there has been an increase in the rate of cyberattacks in the healthcare sector. Over 50 million people experienced a data breach that leaked their personal information.
The population is increasing exceptionally, and integrating data online is the only way to keep tabs on every patient. Consequently, to minimize the data breach, the healthcare sector had to drastically reduce costs and shut down their websites to prevent further losses. But despite how risky it is to go online, you cannot part your way with technology. So, to prevent cybersecurity threats from getting out of control, you should upgrade your system and use the latest software with a more robust firewall.
Furthermore, let healthcare managers arrange training programs to educate the staff on marinating online security as they maintain records. It would help if you also kept data backups, such as using iCloud or an external hard drive, in case you need to shut down operations immediately.
- Provide Better Care for the Growing Aging Population
By 2050, it is predicted that more than 80 million Americans will be 65 or older. Older patients need better care and management than younger patients. These patients may be dealing with chronic health conditions, have ailments that require extensive maintenance, or need numerous procedures before they start feeling better. Caring for older patients can be extremely expensive for the healthcare sector, as diagnosing, treating, and working with these populations require far too many resources than the healthcare sector can provide.
As a result, not can the aging population drive up the cost of healthcare it can also result in physical burnout, which can accelerate staff shortage, and the only way out of this dilemma is to invest in solutions and technology that can treat patients remotely. The use of technology can make it easier for older patients to look after themselves. Services like telehealth reduce the need for patients to come to the hospital, which leaves more space for other patients.
Telehealth also makes it easier for doctors to provide virtual care and routine exams that can inform the patient if they require emergency medicine. Encouraging nurses to specialize and pursue a DNP can ease the burden off physicians, as nurse practitioners can help primary care doctors provide basic care and routine checkups independently.
- More Transparency In Pricing
There have been numerous times when patients filed complaints against their medical bills and invoices. The lack of transparency in Billings has been an ongoing cause of concern for patients. While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services pushed for a hospital price transparency mandate in 2021, less than 5% of US hospitals follow this protocol. Additionally, more than 50% of hospitals do not inform patients about negotiated rates with insurance companies, leaving them further in the dark. This business model needs to be revised. The healthcare sector can only thrive with complete transparency between patients and the system.
To achieve this, as a healthcare worker, you need to offer better services to your patients, which includes complete openness. So, start by publishing typical rates for the hospital’s services that can allow patients to compare their bills. When patients come in to inquire about extensive treatments and services, don’t hesitate to provide them with an estimate of what these procedures can cost and what insurance policies can mitigate some of these losses. It allows patients to opt for multiple payment methods, allowing them to pay gradually over time.
The healthcare sector has numerous challenges that can make providing optimal and top-notch care hard. These hurdles are necessary for the healthcare sector to continue to struggle and fail to provide quality care. Therefore, as a member of this industry, you can help the sector by setting standards of care that prevent malpractice and unnecessarily jeopardize patient health. Another major threat encompassing the healthcare sector is the increase in cybersecurity threats. While going online has made work easier for doctors, it has also made patient data accessible to criminals. This is the only way around this, apart from investing in the latest software and enhancing firewall security.