A new year always provides an opportunity to be reflective and forward thinking. In looking at our current state of healthcare, the following are my hopes of what will happen in 2023:
Access to healthcare for all. Impacted access or lack of healthcare access is not new but was heightened during the pandemic; however, this is a decades-old phenomenon. With care that may have been delayed because of Covid plus the shortage of healthcare providers, access to healthcare has not improved — and in fact, it has worsened. Being a new patient trying to see a physician can take up to six months in many states. Consumers not having the timely access to healthcare creates additional issues as medical conditions may be missed or delayed.
Adequate patient staffing. This also has been an ongoing concern within healthcare. Healthcare facilities would be ecstatic if, daily, there were the number of qualified healthcare providers required to adequately staff patient beds and ancillary staff to support the patient population they are serving. But this is not the case today and has escalated with the current economy. Healthcare facilities and healthcare workers are being asked to take on additional work in light of not having the required staff necessary to provide the required care. The trickle-down effect is additional stress, overworking, overtiming, burned-out professionals and delays in patient care.
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More people entering the healthcare profession. This wish is for individuals to enter at all levels across the healthcare spectrum and includes clinical and healthcare administration. Additionally, we need to be able to provide the appropriate training, ongoing education and support for these individuals to be successful. Providing them time to acclimate to their profession is necessary for long-term success and patient safety. Ensuring we provide healthcare professionals with adequate benefits and pay is critical too. Otherwise, the revolving door will continue.
We need to continue focusing and working on the basics of our healthcare delivery system. Neither telemedicine, alternative healthcare sites (such as Amazon), electronic health records nor ChatGPT will help unless efforts are also made to communicate and acclimate the various consumer populations to how to access the care when they need it — and how to keep clinicians in practice.