According to the Association of American Medical Colleges, by 2015 there is projected to be a shortage of nearly 63,000 physicians and a whopping 91,500 by 2020. The organization cites aging baby boomers and the expansion of insurance coverage as result of the Affordable Healthcare Act of 2010. The reform law is expected to see a large percentage of the 32 million uninsured Americans gain coverage.
What does this mean for healthcare organizations? Obviously, it reveals the importance of physician recruiting and competitive resident/intern programs…but there is much more that meets the eye…
In all actuality, the daunting shortage needs to be met head-on in a logical and strategic manner. This requires that physician resources be used more effectively and intelligently.
Humanity once rode around in buggies powered by horses that came with inherent limitations. One day, we discovered that a motor could power a vehicle as long as there was gas in the tank. Thus, it was possible to drive for ours without rest. And now, thanks to cutting-edge technologies some cars can drive 40 miles-per-gallon or more without a hitch.
In more ways than one, the healthcare world is standing at a precipice that requires we move away from the horse and buggy days and into a new age. We must learn how to do more with less, yet offer exceptional care. The use of paper files and divergent systems are no longer becoming acceptable. Healthcare industry experts are inspiring organizations to sprint forward to meet the pending changes and expected shortages. Standing still will inherently lead to destruction.
IT departments have never been more important for healthcare organizations. For they have the power to employ revolutionary integration tools – such as MEDxConnect – to bring together existing and new technologies, assuring that pertinent patient information and studies are made readily available to physicians and their staffs.
The result is the elimination of unnecessary studies, more effective diagnosis, and cost-containment. Not to mention, the increased levels of collaboration and productivity that arise from team members being on the same page.
Without a doubt the future appears daunting and change difficult – however, I think it is essential that we root ourselves in reality. The more streamlined the industry can become, the more everyone involved can profit – organizational leaders and patients alike.