Health Care Reform Solutions to the Escalating Cost of Care

HealthCareReform:Solutions to theEscalating Costof Care

HealthCareReform:Solutions to theEscalating Costof Care

Populationagingis among thefactorsthat arepositivelyassociatedwith theescalating costof care.Thisisbecauseseniormembers of the societyare moresusceptibletosicknessesthan youngerpeople.Mostimportantly, theprojectedincreasein thepopulationof olderadultsto about20 % by 2030 indicatesthatthecostof healthmight increasetwo times(Mathews, 2013). ThiswilldrivetheMedicaid andMedicare expenditureby 6.8 % and7.3 % respectively(Gray, 2007). Thispaperwill addressthree solutions(includingavoidingunnecessaryin-patient stays,preventivecare,andcoordination of carewith healthcare)to theescalating costof healthas a resultof theincreasein thepopulationof older adults.

Reducingthein-patient stayfortheolderadults

Reducingthetimein which olderadultsarehospitalizedis among themosteffectivewaysof reducingthecostof healththat is associatedwith thetreatmentof seniorcitizens.Althoughthisis a controversialapproachwheresomepeoplearguethatreducingtheinpatient staysforegoes thequalityof healthat theexpenseof costreduction,studieshaveshownthatitreducesthecostwhileimprovingtheoutcomeat thesametime.Accordingto Erickson Health (2008) seniorcitizensexperiencetheimprovedoutcomesfortheoutpatient basisforthefour majoradmittingdiagnosis,includingcongestive heartfailure,chronicobstructive pulmonarydisease,cellulitis, adcommunity-acquired pneumonia.An improvementin thetreatmentoutcomeimpliesthatthepatientwill requirelessmedicationandutilization of hospitalresources,thusreducingtheoverall costof health.

Inaddition,studieshaveshownthatreducingunnecessaryhospitalstayreducethechancesoftheseniorssufferingfrom othercomplications.Forexample,a reductionis thehospitalstayis associatedwith a significantdecreasein casesof nosocomial infections,iatrogenic adverseevents,pressurewounds,anddelirium,which in turnhelpsthehospitalin avoidingthecostof treatingcomplicationsassociatedwith lengthyhospitalization (Erickson Health, 2008).In essence,reducingthelengthof hospitalization, which can be achievedby improvingthetreatmentoutcomeandavoidingunnecessaryhospitalstayis an effectivemethodof containingtheescalating costof treatingolderadults.

Preventivecare

Preventivecarefocuseson thereductionof thechancesoftheoccurrenceof certaindiseases,thusreducingthecostof treatmentandhospitalization. Vaccinatingolderadultsagainst themostcommondiseasesis among themosteffectivemethodsof containingthecostof health.Forexample,vaccinatingolderadultsagainst influenzareducesthenumberof outpatient visitsandthelengthof hospitalization, which leadsto a significantreductioninthecostof health.Itisestimatedthatinfluenzainfectsabout 90 % of olderadultsandleadsto about 36,000 deathsannually(Erickson Health, 2008). Itis alsoestimatedthatonly60 % of theolderadultsin theU.S. arevaccinatedagainst influenza,which meansthatvaccinatingtheremainingbalanceof 40 % can playa partin containingtheescalating costof treatmentandhospitalization.Apartfrom influenza,there are severalotherdiseasesthat can bepreventedthrough vaccination.Thesediseasesincludepneumoniaandshingles. Preventivecarewill helpthehealthcaresystemin eliminatingtheavoidable costsof healthby preventingunnecessaryillnesses.

Coordinationof carewith electronichealthrecords

Aneffectivecoordination of careamong differenthealthcareproviders, services,facilities,andprogramscan be usedto controltherapidincreasein thecostof health.Coordination can beachievedthrough theuseof electronichealthcarerecordsorperson-to-person. Withthecurrentadvancesin technology, electronichealthcarerecordscan be usedto linkhealthcareproviders locatedin differentcentersof servicedelivery,includinghomecarecenter,rehabilitationcenter,medicalcenter,emergencymedical,andhomecarecenter(Erickson Health, 2008).Thecostsof installingandmaintainingtheelectronichealthcarerecordssystemare offsetby thesubsequentfinancialbenefits.

Electronichealthcarerecordsallowhealthcareprofessionalsto havea real-time accessto patientrecordswithout theneedto movefrom one departmentto theotherphysically.Thissaveson costin two ways.First,thereal-time accessto patientdatais positivelyassociatedwith a declinein healthcomplicationsandimprovesthe qualityof care(Erickson Health, 2008). Thedeclinein complicationshelpsthehealthcareproviders avoidthecostof treatingunnecessaryillnesseswhilethe qualityof carefacilitatesquickrecovery.Secondly,electronichealthcarerecordresultsin significantreductionin operatingandstaffing costs.Therefore,coordinatingcareforolderadultswith electronichealthcarerecordsis a viable solutionto theescalating costof care.

Conclusion

Theescalatingcostof deliveringcareforolderadultsis a challengein thehealthcaresystem,butitcan be addressedby avoidingunnecessaryin-patient stays,preventivecare,andcoordination of carewith healthcare.Thehospitalstayaddressesthecostof careby reducingtheutilization of hospitalresourcesandinfections(suchas nosocomial) that areassociatedwith treatingpatientsin constrainedsettings.Preventivecarereducesthechancesof occurrenceof avoidable illnesses,thusreducingthecostof medicationandhospitalization. Electronichealthrecordsreducethecostof staffing andpaperwork, which lowersthecostof deliveringhealthservicesto olderadults.

References

EricksonHealth (2008). Thehigh cost of health care for seniors: Challenges and solutions.Warminster, PA: Erickson Health.

Gray,A. (2007). Population ageing and health care expenditure. AgeingHorizon,2, 15-20.

Mathews,E. (2013, March 10). How the aging population is changing the healthcare system. EverydayHealth Media, LLC.Retrieved April 4, 2015, fromhttp://www.everydayhealth.com/senior-health/aging-and-health/pressures-on-healthcare-from-booming-senior-population.aspx