It is safe to say that there is an increase in the changing landscape of healthcare. From technology and innovation, to new regulations and changing demographics, the healthcare landscape is in a near constant state of reinvention, particularly in North America right now. Healthcare providers and public health experts aim to enhance quality, while staying nimble and adapting to these changes.
Future Changes In The Healthcare Space
How do we galvanize the sector to cope with the massive changes heading our way? Here at PolicyMedical, we have a number of friends who can help us answer this question. One of those people is Nancy Kennedy, the Assistant Deputy Minister of the Health System Strategy and Policy Division at the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care in Ontario.
Kennedy has a range of responsibilities at the Ministry, including overseeing the Ministry’s research, agenda, and funding commitments, as well as coordinating the broader policy agenda and priorities with other divisions. We spoke with her to get some answers.
Kennedy highlights four areas that will undergo the most significant changes in the healthcare space: Home and Community Care, Health and Wellness, Sustainability and Quality, and Integration of Care.
Home and Community Care
One of the province’s most vulnerable populations is seniors. It is a major priority to keep them in their homes, and contributing to their communities for as long as possible. It is essential to figure out the appropriate infrastructure necessary to do this, while ensuring that proper funding mechanisms are in place.
Health and Wellness
The primary goal of the Ontario Ministry of Health is to keep people healthy. Health is not only the absence of disease, but a state of complete wellbeing, including mental, physical, and social health. To achieve this, a serious policy commitment from the public health and health promotion sectors is necessary, that includes components of health literacy and holistic care.
Sustainability and Quality
The province’s healthcare system is currently facing structural challenges, with a growing number of healthcare consumers, and a stagnant healthcare budget. “So how do we sort of maintain high quality of care with limited resources? And how do we make quality part of the conversation in doing that?” Kennedy questions. The province is currently facing a funding reform, with a focus on quality-based procedures, and broader mechanisms to institutionalize this work in the sector.
Integration of Care
It is critical to ensure that healthcare throughout the province is coordinated and systematic, and that the transitions of care between the acute environment and the community environment are smooth. This must be done through intentional communication among providers, which will not occur without policy change.
The Changing Landscape Of Healthcare
At the center of the whirlwind of change is the patient. As the healthcare system evolves, we must ensure that it is patient-centered, and that patients are involved in every decision regarding their care. The Ministry must take into consideration what the patients would like from their healthcare system. This is quite difficult to measure, and from an evaluation standpoint may require the incorporation of more qualitative measures.
Though the healthcare system is evolving rapidly, Kennedy believes that those within the industry are rising to the challenge. As expectations from patients become higher surrounding quality of care, in addition to their involvement in their own care, the health care system must stretch and adapt. “I also see in an ideal world that patients are going to take more control of their care, and seek out solutions for themselves,” Kennedy adds. “The model of sort of the doctor knows best or hospital knows best is going to have to change, because citizens and consumers are demanding it.” The role of the Ministry of Health is to facilitate these changes to strengthen the continuum of care and ultimately improve the health of the province.
As we can see even at a level of governance things are evolving fast in the healthcare space and it is up to us that operate in that environment to evolve with it. With regards to policy management software it means constantly having an application that can respond quickly to industry changes in regulations, policies and procedures. We at PolicyMedical do our upmost to do this and are always happy to discuss any concerns you may have about policy management in today’s healthcare world. Please contact us to chat further or reach out to us to request a demo.