On our 21st birthday, our team at HealthCare21 covered the significant advancements within the healthcare sector that occurred over the past 21 years. We will now be posting 21 developments that will be shaping the future of medical communications and healthcare delivery.
3. The number of people ≥65 years of age is set to rise from 524 million to 1.5 billion in 2050 and it is also expected that this age group will outnumber younger age groups by 2020.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Health and Aging report indicates that the number of people ≥65 years of age is anticipated to rise from 524 million to 1.5 billion in 2050, with most of the increase in developing countries. The number of people ≥65 years of age would then outnumber younger age groups by 2020.
WHO attributes the elderly population’s rapid size and life expectancy increase to a change in the leading cause of death with heart disease, stroke, cancer and dementia having the greatest impact. Annual healthcare cost increases with the number of chronic conditions being treated, considering that twice as many hospital admissions and physician visits would be expected between now and 2013. More than 60% of this Baby Boomer generation is also expected to be managing more than one chronic condition.
According to the WHO report, some believe that as life expectancy increases, the prevalence of disability will decrease because the progress we make in medicine will slow disease progression from chronic disease to disability but with an increase in milder chronic diseases. Other researchers however, believe that as life expectancy increases, the prevalence of disability will increase.
New approaches in healthcare delivery will be needed to address the diverse and more complex care challenges. Healthcare systems must prepare and implement a multidisciplinary approach to ensure patients are receiving better case management. There also needs to be a focus on providing preventive care versus reactive care. Strategies may include a more comprehensive care plan before hospital discharge, a system to help identify patients who require follow-up, and implementation of programmes and tools to effectively monitor patients’ health.
Some experts are calling on new approaches to incentivise doctors to keep us healthy instead of paying them only when we’re already sick. This radical shift from a sick care system to a true healthcare system could save us from unnecessary costs, risky procedures and keep us healthier for longer.
- The Aging Population: The Increasing Effects on Health Care, Pharmacy Times. Jan 19, 2016