We are living in a time when things are changing pretty fast, and those who are not willing to adapt the change are lacking behind or even going out of the game. This game which we call the business. The healthcare industry is not saved from all these changes too.
Talk about healthcare just look around yourself. How many types of tests are not being performed, which were thought to be impossible a few years back? How many new fields have been introduced, which were nonexistent a few years back and the way you can be associated with the healthcare industry has changed too. Now you can just do MHA online (Masters in Health Administration) and be associated with the industry.
So does this mean that the healthcare industry is not facing any challenges? Well, when there is room for change, this means that there are problems which are to be solved yet. So what are those challenges which the healthcare industry is facing nowadays?
Let us see in detail some of the challenges the healthcare industry is facing below:
List of challenges faced by the healthcare industry:
The healthcare industry is facing contrasting scenarios across the globe. If you look at the developing countries, you will find highly qualified doctors and medical professionals, high-tech clinics and much more. However, on the other hand, in the 3rd world countries, the condition is the total opposite. But looking at the global economy let us see the challenges faced by the healthcare industry:
- Healthcare Innovation: The healthcare industry is getting more and more tech-savvy that it is getting difficult for scientists and engineers to innovate health solutions. They have filled the gap so much in the developed markets that they are now saturated. But human nature never rests at the current solution. It always needs a new one. Hence finding new innovative ways of serving people is a huge challenge for the industry, and they are spending millions of dollars on finding a new innovative way to solve a problem.
- Cybersecurity: Now, how does cybersecurity is linked with healthcare? The healthcare industry is moving towards streamline flow of information between one clinic to another, one hospital to medicine manufacturer and much more. The information is about patient medical history. This means the data is private and must be encrypted. This is where cybersecurity becomes an issue. When the system is fully IoT (Internet of Things) based, it will attract hackers and other companies to steal the data and use it for their benefit. Hence, cybersecurity will be a major challenge faced by the healthcare industry.
- Healthcare cost going up: According to estimate, adults in the US have to pay a penalty of $695/- if they do not agree to purchase health insurance. This figure is just a small example of how expensive healthcare is. According to an experiment, a simple root canal costs $1,200/- in the US. The healthcare cost is going up every day, and the industry is worried because people are standing against this. The rate with which the cost is going up is not equal to the rate at which the income is going rather income is going down. The industry is in huge pressure to bring the cost down either they are pharmaceutical companies, private hospitals or device manufacturers. They all have to work side by side to reduce the cost because this challenge is not new; it has been there for many years.
- Pharmaceutical industry price increases: The pharmaceutical industry is the major stakeholder in the healthcare industry. No matter where the person is, either in a clinic or in a hospital, he has to purchase medicine to get cured of his disease. According to a report published in RX saving solutions, around 48 drug manufacturing companies have raised prices of more than 250 lifesaving drugs by 6.3%. However, the inflation rate of the US is has been 2.2%. On the other hand, pharma companies in developed markets have unique patents that allow them to have a monopoly and prevent other companies from giving competition. So drug companies mostly decide the prices.
- Healthcare Staffing Shortage: Get ready to be part of the healthcare industry. It has been estimated that by 2030, 100,000 doctors will be short. Also, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projection says that an additional 203,700 new RNs (Registered Nurses) will be required each year through 2026. This includes the newly created vacancies and the older one retired. These statistics tell that the healthcare industry is going with a challenge of lack of human resource, and they desperately need young people to be part of it. And these are just one sector of the healthcare industry, Hospitals, and clinics. What about the pharmaceutical industry? What about the medical equipment manufacturing industry and many more? But in the end, the healthcare industry is facing a huge challenge of a staffing shortage.
- Non-health care disrupters: According to Brain and Company, five key players will introduce disruption in the healthcare industry, and these players are not traditional healthcare companies. Amazon, the digital revolution, Regulatory changes, Consumerism and Personalized medicines. Amazon just got the license for wholesale medical distribution. This will impact the traditional distributors of the healthcare industry. Companies like Apple, Samsung, Alibaba, and Tencent have joined the game. Products like apple watch, which was initially designed to keep track of your activities are playing a major part in the life of people. These companies who are technology hubs are making the traditional companies invest in technology like AI, Machine learning, IoT and many other tech-savvy things.
- Regulatory changes: Since health is the most integral part of human beings, the government does not allow it to be controlled by self-centred individuals rather keep it in the hands of some regulatory body. This regulatory body manages and makes regulations for the industry. But the decisions of the body also impact the industry in mostly two ways: Either it increases the cost of production which results in higher prices, or it confuses the general public regarding the rights which they have. Since it is hard to work in an inconsistent environment, it becomes a challenge for the industry to survive and serve the patients.
The bottom line:
The healthcare industry is the most important industry for human beings. This industry works to save the lives of billions of people every day. But this industry has some challenges which it has to overcome. The major challenges which this industry faces are:
Technology innovation is getting harder and harder due to the advent of high standards of innovation. This leads the industry to spend millions of dollars to solve a simple problem. This comes regulatory bodies which impact the cost of the industry, which leads the industry to increase prices which is also an issue for the hospitals and pharmaceutical manufactures. Some players in the industry tend to increase prices more than the inflation rate, which impacts the general public.
However, in all these conditions healthcare industry need more labour as they are getting shorter in labour. Especially RNs (Registered nurses) and doctors are getting short in 6 figure numbers. This means that more is required by the industry like MHAs and many more. But remember every challenge can be solved, and the healthcare industry should work together to overcome these challenges and impact positively upon the life of a common man.