The Baby Boomers have drastically changed nearly every industry over the last sixty years. So it should be no surprise that they are having significant effect the healthcare industry as well.
In fact Baby Boomer’s present the single largest challenge the American healthcare industry has ever faced. The Boomers will be using the system at historic rates as the industry tries to meet demand with an aging and depleting workforce.
“This is the most powerful force operating in our health system right now, this generational change,” says Jeff Goldsmith, president of Health Futures Inc., Charlottesville, Va. So far, the growth in the number of senior citizen boomers has been incremental, and its impact on health care has been overshadowed by federal reform and budget battles. “People aren’t paying much attention,” via hhnmag.com
The Post World War II generation is also demanding changes in the healthcare system causing a shift to home-based services such as home care, visiting physician services and hospice. That is a demand lawmakers believe America’s health care system can rise too.
In July, Senator Ron Wyden (D-ORE) told Medpage Today that he believes a Baby-Boomer inspired revolution is coming to healthcare.
“I believe Medicare and Medicaid are going to lead a revolution in caring for people at home,” Wyden said, especially for chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes, stroke, and Alzheimer’s, which account for 93% of Medicare’s costs.
Home Care can save the Medicare system money. With technological advances in the Bio-med field and electronic medical records, the licensed healthcare professional can access medical information and order treatments just as efficiently than a hospital facility. For patients who don’t need 24 hour monitoring by a Register Nurse or physician, home care can be a very cost effective service delivery system.
Hospital systems have already figured this out. They are investing more time and resources into home care services as a way to boost patient outcomes and cut hospital readmission. Minimizing readmission is a key part to the new reimbursement system Medicare has put in place as a result of the affordable care act. By having some control over the patients healthcare delivery after discharge, hospitals hope to curb readmission and provide better outcomes.
With the healthcare industry already embracing the shift to home care and lawmakers willing to fund it. Look for more innovation in the field of home health care over the next fifteen years. Innovation that could save the Medicare system from financial collapse.