in the industry
which patient’s image. The radiographer
can confirm the ID, shoot the image, approve, and send in a matter of seconds.
And, depending on the system, the patient’s wristband can be scanned to verify
a patient with the information on the patient input screen.
The face of America is changing. Data
from the US Census shows the baby
boomers are reaching retirement age. In
fact, this is true not only for the US, but
for every developed country including
the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Australia. Japan has an even bigger challenge.
The US Census makes data available by
city. Some managers use this data in their
long term planning as it is available for
nearly every municipality.
The total population who is over 65
and placing maximum demand on the
system is growing quickly. Conversely,
the percentage of the population paying into the system and able to care for
the elderly is in decline. This is perhaps
best reflected as a ratio. Data from the
2010 US Census shows that the number
of people between 20 and 64 years old
(typical working years) for each person
65 or older is 4. 6 people; in 2025 it is estimated to be 3. 2 people. The growing
challenge before us all is how to handle
more patients and more exams with a
proportionately smaller staff. Places such
as India, Africa, and China already have
this issue today.
Fortunately, we have the opportunity
to prepare for this coming tsunami. The
silver lining is that having more patients
means more business for hospitals. If a
manufacturer heard they would have
such a boom coming they would be
thrilled. They would automate as much
as possible to drive productivity and
economies of scale. Even with fewer
workers and reduced prices, the business outlook would be seen as very positive. Our perspective needs to consider
not just doing what we have done and
more, but thinking out of the box about
the productivity we need for tomorrow.
Not only will there be more Americans in retirement, but the demand on
healthcare will grow proportionally.
Today, people over 65 require 3. 6 times
as many visits to the hospital and stay
four times longer than our younger citizens. The net result of this is that nearly
two times the work will need to be done
with proportionately 30% fewer workers.
The key to turning this crisis into an opportunity resides in finding productivity
along the way.
While the answer to this issue is
productivity, it must be affordable and
flexible. The solution to maximizing the
upside from the patient boom is to find
ways to build productivity and manage
the cost of delivering the best patient
care. Efficient use of existing and future resources is critical, as is building
a justification for investment that your
CEO agrees with and can share with the
Todd Minnigh is vice president of sales and marketing
development at Carestream Health. He can be
contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.