Baby Boomers Shaping Healthcare
There are several events coalescing that could have the ability to reshape the entire healthcare industry all over the world. For the first time in history, there are more people over the age of 65 than below the age of 5. This is because of the baby boomer generation which is now becoming an increasingly older population and requiring more healthcare especially in areas of oncology and cardiology. When it comes to cancer treatments, they are becoming the “leading edge” of a precision customised medicine paradigm. The incidence of cancer from 2010 is said to increase by 67% by 2030, bringing attention to an international response to cancer care.
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are also one of the main concerns of baby boomers as they get older. As a result, there are significant new clinical trials for Alzheimer’s, the most common form of dementia.
However, the number of specialised physicians is shrinking, and this gap must not be overlooked. Healthcare is doing a good job of handling medical challenges such as the flu and non-critical injuries in younger adults and children. But issues like heart diseases, hypertension, cancer, Alzheimer’s and arthritis that are more common in elderly people and costlier are more difficult to treat.
Older people are getting care from general practitioners, but they need to alter their practice to fit the baby boomers needs. For every 9,400 adults over the age of 65, there is only one trained physician and certified geriatrician. At the same time, there is 1 paediatrician from every 1,200 child under the age of 15.
CEO of the Chippewa County-Montevideo Hospital in Minnesota Mark Paulson says that for doctors to counter the gap the whole healthcare system needs to be rethought. They must focus on elderly people, by aiming to prevent and treat their chronic, long-term conditions. This begins with technology, for instance with augmented reality and predictive analytics, helping doctors in certain tasks and streamline individual appointments.
In the future, recruitment and training of geriatricians is an important part of the vision for excellent healthcare. Leaders of the UK’s National Health Service announced plans to increase recruitment efforts by adding 1,500 physicians in 2016. This would help decrease medical costs and boost healthcare.
As baby boomers are getting older, their needs for healthcare is increasing. This also calls for action within the healthcare industry to adapt to their rising needs and target the issue of dwindling physicians. For this to happen, people must take preventative measures through preventative health methods, awareness campaigns and put focus on the recruitment of specialised healthcare professionals.