The healthcare sector, despite its importance, is still lacking in many ways. Hospitals all around the world cater to a large population ranging from different communities. Every patient comes with a unique set of conditions and needs. Some patients need extended care over a long period, while others require immediate help. In any case, the hospital staff gets divided in trying to provide for those who come in. The trouble starts when there is a sector of the population that cannot access healthcare right away. These communities may be living in underdeveloped regions far from accessible roads.
Consequently, when these communities fall ill, they spread the infection, increasing the burden on the national healthcare system. Unless these shortcomings get addressed, the healthcare sector will continue to deplete under tremendous pressure. A doctor cannot perform their job correctly when they cannot manage the influx of cases every day. Therefore, revamping the system is of utmost importance. While there is a long-term systemic change needed, some measures can still get implemented immediately. Here are some ways to overcome the shortcomings of the healthcare sector:
1. More specializations for nurses
The type of education doctors and nurses receive are vastly different. Doctors are subjected to more intensive curriculums, followed by more technical training. Yet, there is only so much that doctors can accomplish on their own. It would help the medical sector if nurses also start taking up specialization courses to upskill and assist in diagnostic roles. Numerous online platforms can help nurses to upgrade their skills. For example, they can opt for a post master’s certificate online and choose a specialization. As a result, they can help the healthcare sector manage more cases without burdening doctors. It is an excellent way to close the gap between the number of patients and the available professionals who can provide diagnostic services and treatment.
2. Accessibility from rural areas
Most hospital’s locations are in big cities or downtown areas. Since they are far from rural areas, getting to them is not easy. Communities settled in rural areas are more prone to infectious diseases and poor healthcare. They often neglect their health till the condition escalates to an unmanageable level. If the issues need countering, the healthcare sector can look into setting up retail clinics. These clinics are set in grocery stores and pharmacies to provide small check-ups. In case there is an emergency detected, the clinic can call in for an ambulance. Nurses and doctors can also set up camps biweekly to help curb the situation. While retail clinics are not a permanent solution, they can provide relief till policymakers start funding the rural sector more. It is also a solution instead of leaving the population to handle their disease on their own.
3. Invest in data management systems
Hospitals receive an influx of data. The data is integral since it contains sensitive information about patients. Previously hospitals relied solely on paperwork to keep track of patients. Gradually the system became hybrid. However, with an increase in population, a hybrid system or a system dependent on paperwork is no longer feasible. Hospitals need to start investing in data management systems. These systems use specialized software as well as the cloud to share data with multiple stakeholders. If the same hospital has many branches transferring the data is much easier and effective. Data management systems also backup information. If a computer shuts down or has an internal server error, rebooting the system is no issue.
4. Keep better track of inventory
Hospitals need supplies daily. These are PPEs, patient gowns, and medical supplies that need to be restocked and stored correctly. Unless there is proper inventory management, these supplies can run short in no time. For every patient, a doctor needs a fresh supply of equipment. Hospitals can try and invest in software to automatically keep track of inventory. The healthcare staff can use their ID to update the database when they’re using medical equipment. At the same time, hospitals should have more than one supplier. Keeping multiple suppliers ensures the flow of equipment does not get disrupted. The pandemic of 2019 highlighted the importance of utilizing local and imported companies. When different countries stopped the supply chain due to the lockdown, the sector suffered heavily with a lack of equipment. Endangering the staff is not a good idea, so corrective measures need to be set in place.
5. Online pharmacies
The healthcare sector needs to start investing more into telehealth. They need to design apps and software for pharmacies that are easy to follow. E-commerce is on the rise, and pharmacies should be a part of the journey. Not everyone has the time or the accessibility to go to pharmacies. In minor cuts or injuries, it doesn’t make sense to wait in line for OTC medicines. The medical health sector still lags compared to other industries due to a lack of online support. If consumers can tap into online pharmacies, that can make healthcare more effective and efficient. For medicines that require prescriptions, patients can create a profile with their respective hospital and get access. It is time the sector starts looking more into technologically driven options.
There are different kinds of patients with varying health problems and ages. Some patients need more care and support than others. This is why for them, going to the hospital is not an option. Immunocompromised patients need extra attention and care, so it’s better they get their check-ups done online. Telehealth is a good solution for patients who are immobile or have weak immunity. The system connects the patient to a relevant doctor to help get a diagnosis. In case the patient needs extra care, after careful discussion, a medical assistant can be arranged. Telehealth can also help the sector in other ways. Traveling nurses and public health officials can avail health check-ups over the internet to connect with patients. As a result, good care gets streamlined, and no patient suffers neglect.
7. Better booking of machines
One of the problems the healthcare sector has is the booking of machines. Patients need access to MRIs, dialysis, and even X-rays. At a time, several patients need to get their internal check-ups. Hospitals give priority to ER patients over follow-ups which causes an increase in the waiting time. Hospitals can solve the issue through digital booking. If the situation doesn’t require urgent care, a patient can go online. The hospital can keep updating the information when a machine is available for usage. As a result, through date matching and logging online. Patients can get care right away.
The healthcare sector needs to improve tremendously. As the population gradually increases, the need for proper healthcare also increases manifold. If these issues do not get addressed immediately, the sector will continue to suffer. A collective reform is the only solution during times of turbulence. The industry should start looking into more digitally-driven solutions. These solutions not only make the sector sustainable but it is also the best way forward. Technology also makes it easier to connect patients and doctors. The internet is a viable platform to connect patients to their needs. Nurses should also try specializing and upgrading their skills to be able to provide more services. When the sector works in unison, it is easier to meet goals. With time and greater incorporation of technology, the healthcare sector will take the lead once more.