The Aging Population Will Soon Challenge the U.S. Healthcare System

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As technology has continued to advance, it’s no surprise that enhanced care and better practices have had a hand in the lengthened average lifespan in the United States. According to the United States Census Bureau, in 2030 all baby boomers will be older than age 65. This will expand the size of the older population so that 1 in every 5 residents will be retirement age.1  Jonathan Vespa, a demographer with the U.S. Census Bureau  notes that “The aging of baby boomers means that within just a couple decades, older people are projected to outnumber children for the first time in U.S. history.”1 The aging population has already begun posing challenges for healthcare providers throughout the United States and it’s projected to worsen as a shortage of healthcare professionals is on the horizon.

American biologist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist, William A. Haseltine notes that “By 2050, the global population of people older than 60 is expected to jump to two billion. In the United States, the number of Americans over the age of 65 is expected to double from roughly 50 million today to nearly 100 million by 2060.”2 As the population is living longer, elder and long term care is becoming a challenge for healthcare providers around the globe. As people age, they suffer from more and more illnesses. These chronic illnesses are placing an increasing burden on health systems.2 There are several challenges that are expected to impact the healthcare system as the population continues to live longer.

A few of these expected challenges include3:

 

  • Resource needs will continue to increase across all health care settings
  • The incidence of obesity will continue to increase
  • A shortage of health care professionals is expected
  • The diversity of caregivers lags behind the growing diversity of patients
  • The sustainability and structure of federal programs in relation to the increasing aging population are a concern

 

The healthcare system must address the challenges listed in order to better care for the aging population moving forward. Our healthcare system needs to prepare for new technology (especially because of the higher cost) by increasing training of health care workers and examining how technology will impact hospital infrastructure.3 There needs to be a focus on providing preventive care versus reactive care. Strategies may include a more comprehensive care plan before discharge, a system to help identify patients who require follow-up, and implementation of a program to help monitor patients.3

The good news is, the TracPatch Surface Sensor Technology has already begun being implemented across the United States as a tool to help address the above challenges. The TracPatch two-piece device adheres to a patient’s leg above and below the knee following total knee surgery and continuously collects activity data including range of motion (ROM), exercise compliance, pain scores, PROM survey submissions, and ambulation, through a centralized patient application. The data is then sent to the cloud and shared with the patient’s healthcare provider through the healthcare provider app and web portal.

TracPatch allows healthcare providers to review a patient’s progress remotely and then send exercise reminders and make changes to individual recovery plans based on how the individual is progressing. As new challenges arise, TracPatch may be just the tool to help healthcare providers care for their patients remotely and more individually. With the expected shortage of health care professionals, remote monitoring technology may be exactly what’s needed to provide better and more efficient care to the aging population. For more information about TracPatch contact us today.

References:

  1. US Census Bureau. (2018, December 3). Older People Projected to Outnumber Children. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/newsroom/press-releases/2018/cb18-41-population-projections.html
  2. Haseltine, W. A. (2018, April 2). Aging Populations Will Challenge Healthcare Systems All Over The World. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/williamhaseltine/2018/04/02/aging-populations-will-challenge-healthcare-systems-all-over-the-world/#79fd72c42cc3
  3. The Aging Population: The Increasing Effects on Health Care. (2016, January 19). Retrieved from https://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2016/january2016/the-aging-population-the-increasing-effects-on-health-care
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