There are many reasons the demand for healthcare services continues to rise in the United States. These include a rapidly growing population, an increasingly aging population, and the recent pandemic. All these are indisputably boosting the demand for healthcare services in the country, resulting in a drastic shortage of medical professionals.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the country will need over 11 million healthcare workers between 2016 and 2026. These include nurses, personal care aides, and assistants needed for various healthcare facilities, including tertiary hospitals, small clinical laboratories, and assisted living facilities.
Here are the main reasons behind the ever-increasing demand in healthcare services and what the U.S can expect in the future.
The American population grows by over 25 million individuals each decade. Because of the ever-increasing numbers, the need for healthcare services and providers increases as well.
The United States has one of the fastest-growing aging populations globally, significantly impacting the demands for healthcare services. That’s because compared to the medical needs of younger individuals, the elderly typically require more significant healthcare needs. Experts estimate the aging population’s growth to increase by up to 40% until 2022, significantly affecting healthcare demands.
Increase in Chronic Medical Condition Cases
There’s also an increasing trend of individuals developing chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes and obesity in the U.S. According to the CDC, 6 in 10 adults in America have some form of chronic illness. Because of this, additional healthcare specialists are needed to prevent, manage, and treat these chronic conditions, drastically increasing the need for healthcare services.
Shortage of Medical Providers
The number one challenge contributing to the ever-increasing demands for healthcare services is the lack of medical professionals. Many of these providers opt to stray away from this career path as most are faced with low wages, extreme pressure, and long sleepless nights, leaving the demands for healthcare services at an all-time high.
Because of the continuous increase in demand, healthcare facilities are now opting to provide their service through virtual means. Using telemedicine in their practices allows medical providers to cater to more patients safely and conveniently. There are over 76% of hospitals in the U.S. using telemedicine in their operations. Experts expect these numbers to increase more because of the ongoing pandemic.
However, several healthcare facilities still don’t use telemedicine, leaving many to struggle to meet their medical needs. That’s why if the nation’s healthcare system wants to truly embrace the potential for better quality care, services, and change, doctors or hospitals must realize that telemedicine isn’t an inferior substitute for personal care but a different technology to use in delivering it.
There’s no guarantee on how long this health trend will last and will depend mainly on how existing medical providers use this new model during the current situation.
The healthcare industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors globally. And because of the ongoing pandemic and gradually declining number of medical professionals, the United States and the rest of the world can expect to experience a massive surge in healthcare services demand for the upcoming years.