by Mohan Manthiry
The World Health Organisation says no one should have to choose between death and financial hardship. But the shocking truth is that this is a reality for millions of people every year. New data reveal that at least half of the world’s 7.3 billion people still do not have access to essential health services, such as having a skilled birth attendant, vaccinations for children or treatment for HIV.
YOUR HEALTH, YOUR RIGHT
“It is completely unacceptable that at least half the world still lacks coverage for the most essential health services.” Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO
Where do we go from here? Healthcare globally is being challenged. The readiness of the healthcare systems to face the ageing population, increasing chronic diseases, the escalating costs and the proliferation of technology and consumer demands.
You can be the richest, the most powerful or the smartest guy on earth, but without good health, you are worse off than a vagabond!! Health has no border, is unbiased, is a perfect storm when it strikes and has no creed or cradle. With a global population projected to reach 10 billion by 2050 and the number of people aged above 60 years to rise from 900 million to 2 billion, the face of healthcare is changing real fast.
THE HEALTHCARE OF THE FUTURE SHOULD BE:
• Where every person takes charge of his or her health, get empowered, embrace and manage his or her health. They should be vested with the tools to take many of their healthcare needs into their own hands, sharing the information with communities of patients and with their doctors.
• One that is patient-focused, not only on mission and vision statements but in practice 100%. Encouraged and implemented by all institutions, providers, policy makers and individuals.
• Where hospitals can discharge patients faster and free up the beds and congestion to more critically needy patients.
• Where patients can transit to a step-down facility or their home to continue their care professionally.
• Health that is homecare driven that enables the patients to be safe from the hospital environment like hospital-acquired (nosocomial) infections.
• Where patients are the cornerstone of health.
• Where all stakeholders (both public and private) single-mindedly work towards ensuring patients take charge of their health…this means getting patients involved in their care by sharing the health records, discussing the care being given, follow-ups and most importantly having a centralized Personal Health Record at their disposal that would help to shape the continuum of their care.
• Utilizing big data analytics and connected care available to personalize treatment plan (precision medicine) and to predict patient risk and therapeutic efficacy that will enable the optimization of health and disease management.
“Technology allows us to connect the dots by providing people with more information, so they can make better decisions about their health and their lives,” Bernard J. Tyson – Chairman & CEO Kaiser Permanente.
• Making primary care the trust of healthcare delivery system.
• The primary focus of healthcare is on education, prevention and wellness to enable individuals to be healthy for optimal management of their health status.
• Where the foresight on the planning for healthcare is for a long-term, e.g., for the next 30 to 50 years. This would overcome the current issues we face on the demographic aging population and the soaring rates of chronic diseases.
• Where funding for good health is the focus of the government, corporations and insurers.
HEALTHCARE SHOULD BE EFFICIENT, TIMELY AND APPROPRIATE
One that provides the right medication, treatment/care plan that is most cost-efficient and effective for the patient. The current business model universally practiced is not sustainable and disruptive to mankind. It places a heavy burden on the public finances, individual finances and we do not see the light at the end of the tunnel.
The abuse on healthcare services involves the stakeholders and the consumers. A classic example is the abuse of the medical insurance by providers and policyholders without realizing that the cost of this abuse is only going to load the premiums year after year and make it increasingly unaffordable for the majority. The key to this solution is education, education, education from young.
For a generation that would eventually change the landscape of the healthcare, you must start now for tangible results in the next 20 to 30 years.
When the government plans healthcare for the next generation, it ought to keep in mind that the most effective measure is to educate the next generation to embrace and take charge of their own health. This entails introducing health education in the curriculum of all schools from primary one. A program that empowers our young generation in all the challenges facing healthcare today, instilling in them good health habits focusing on non-communicable diseases, drugs, smoking, food, lifestyle and exercise. A programme that shall involve healthcare professionals to help plan and execute the curriculum. The classes conducted under the programme shall practically strive and aim for mindset change on the perception of healthcare.