It is a well-known fact that technology will have a significant impact on the future of healthcare. However, health-related education is also an important component that affects the future of healthcare. Health-related education is a rapidly evolving niche both in and out of traditional learning settings. While distance learning and newer subjects are reshaping the academic experience, some trends in health education also focus on the change of lifestyle, chronic healthcare management through medications and treatments, alternative therapies, preventing disease with the help of vaccinations. Read on to explore other trends that are influencing health-related education:
1. More nurse practitioners
With the current nursing shortage, many nurses take on other roles to help fill the gap. For example, nurse practitioners have been working to help meet the growing demand for primary care physicians. This is also true of nurse anesthetists, who are currently leading the way in providing anesthesia services. It is predicted that nurse practitioners will have more of an impact on the future of healthcare. Therefore, online nursing degrees, such as an RN to BSN degree, are becoming popular so motivated professionals can speed up their career advancement. These online programs are a good option because they offer flexible scheduling. Some students are also pursuing degrees in advanced practice nursing to prepare for future opportunities in the medical field.
2. Chronic illness awareness and management
In the US, at least 133 million people live with one or more chronic conditions, which means they have little control over their health. Some of the most common chronic conditions include diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke. The CDC reports that managing these chronic conditions through medications and treatments is expected to cost $4.2 trillion in the next 20 years. This means that people will need to take more responsibility for their own health, which could influence the future of health education. It is predicted that more personal health monitoring will be required to keep track of their chronic health conditions.
Fitness trackers could play a significant role in the future of patient education by encouraging people to become more active. According to the CDC, inactivity causes about nine different chronic conditions. These include coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and colon cancer. Nurses are already using fitness trackers to encourage their patients to stay active. Romanian researchers at the University of Bucharest tracked people’s physical activities and sleeping patterns with type 2 diabetes to produce a comprehensive analysis. These results could lead to improved patient care.
4. Education will also be critical in preventing disease
Vaccines are essential for preventing infectious diseases such as measles and influenza. The CDC reports the US has seen fewer incidents of measles, rubella, mumps, and other childhood diseases. This means fewer sick days for children and parents and less stress placed on the medical system by these illnesses. However, there are still pockets of unvaccinated people in the US, which means diseases could spread. It is predicted that this could cause healthcare costs to rise. Parents and children need to understand the risks and benefits of vaccines.
5. Focus on health-related education
The future of healthcare is expected to emphasize health-related education to counter rising treatment costs. According to Excellus Health Plan, nearly half of all US workers are now at risk of illness or injury. This is mainly because of lifestyle factors such as obesity, smoking, and a lack of exercise. Health-related education has already led to an increase in recognizing warning signs for diseases. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that awareness of cardiovascular disease has increased dramatically in China, and cases of hypertension have decreased.
6. The US healthcare system is expecting change
It is predicted that as the US economy improves, there will be an increased demand for healthcare services. The increase in the number of insured people under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is expected to increase demand for services, which could put additional pressure on hospital budgets. For example, the University of North Carolina Medical Center is expected to increase its beds from 543 to 1,100 by 2030. These beds are expected to help care for the growing number of older people who require long-term hospitalization.
7. More focus on preventative care
To reduce the number of people requiring hospitalization, individuals need to take responsibility for their health. Preventative care is expected to be a priority under the new federal administration. For example, it is reported that the US administration is considering a rule that would allow insurers to sell short-term policies that do not meet the requirements of the ACA. These plans could offer lower premiums but would not include the same level of benefits. This could encourage more people to take responsibility for their health and seek preventative care before becoming sick.
8. Need for a more experienced workforce
In order to keep up with the changing demands of the US healthcare system, it is expected that an increased number of healthcare professionals will be required. For example, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 1 million registered nurses are expected to retire in the next ten years. It is expected that an additional 1 million registered nurses will need to be trained before 2030.
The US healthcare system will likely witness many changes in the coming years. These include patient education, hospital budgets, preventative care management, and the number of required professionals. Thus the scope of health-related education is changing in both academic and professional settings. So, if you want to become a health educator or a professional and help people live healthier lives, now would be a good time since technology makes earning relevant qualifications and educating patients much easier now.