The Future of Healthcare for Seniors (PDF)
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Prod. Code: EB006
Healthcare systems worldwide are under financial strain. With health spending increasing and in some instances with no corresponding improvement in healthcare delivery, the pressure is on from the public for health systems not only to justify their enormous expenditures, but also to curtail them. Yet, the public is becoming an increasingly suave healthcare consumer, demanding accessibility to qualitative healthcare at affordable costs. However, the expectation of qualitative health service delivery under budgetary constraints might prove too daunting for many if not all health systems, and could pose a significant challenge to their survivability, let alone, profitability, in the long term. The current financial burden on health services might even worsen with time for a variety of reasons, in developed countries, for example, because of the projected increase in the number of seniors with increasing longevity and their population aging. With seniors, the most intensive users of health services and with many of them, having one or more chronic illnesses, that this increase in their population could further swell health spending, and significantly too, is hardly disputable. What remains contentious is what we could do to prevent the possible collapse of health systems, were something not done to curtail soaring healthcare costs. This e-book is an attempt to address this issue from a healthcare information and communications technologies perspective. It advances the position that healthcare delivery is a conglomeration of processes linking interrelated systems, working individually, and in tandem to produce the outcome, namely, healthcare delivery, incurring transaction costs along the way, the quality of this outcome dependent on the efficiency and effectiveness of the processes. The e-book highlights the need for health systems to appreciate the underlying process flaws that invariably manifest in the problems that threaten their abilities to achieve the dual objectives of qualitative yet affordable healthcare delivery. It exemplifies the need to decompose these processes in order to determine the flaws and to rectify them, and argues for the widespread implementation and utilization of healthcare ICT as the most efficient and cost-effective means for doing so. There is increasing research evidence of the benefits that these technologies offer in improving the quality of healthcare delivery and reducing its costs. By analyzing such evidence in-depth, and relating these analyses to developments in health systems in different parts of the world, the e-book also attempts to underscore the universality of process interplay in healthcare delivery and by extension, that of the key role that health information and communications technologies could play in correcting anomalous processes, hence improving outcome quality. It also emphasizes the importance of process decomposition as an engine for the exposition that could result in further decomposition, revealing new and possibly cryptic processes whose improvement would further improve process and outcome quality, sine qua non for the necessary continuous quality improvement contingent upon the changes that our inherently dynamic health systems engender. There could be no gainsaying the value of healthcare ICT to the future of health services provision for not only our seniors but also the entire citizenry. Now is when we should call on one another to initiate new and step-up current efforts to promote the pervasive deployment of the technologies that could ensure that our health systems not only continue to provide the services our peoples expect them to, and even better, but also prepare adequately to meet the challenges of the future. This e-book hopes to add a voice to this call. It would interest the public, policymakers, healthcare professionals, health advocacy groups, hospital CEOs and other staff, the media, government agencies, health insurance companies, industry analysts and leaders, and other healthcare stakeholders.