Physician shortages are forecast as baby boomers retire in greater numbers. Data analytics can streamline medical processes and help improve outcomes.
With the baby boomer generation retiring from the workforce in increasing numbers, the health care industry is expecting to see an increase in older patients just as the number of working medical professionals decreases. These changes — dubbed the “silver tsunami” — have already begun and will continue to change how health care in the U.S. is both delivered and consumed.
Wave of Retirement
The 2016 United Health Foundation’s America’s Health Rankings Senior Report concluded that major projected population growth, combined with the anticipated increase in obesity and diabetes rates among middle-aged patients, will place a strain on the health care system in the near future. The report says that baby boomers are in poorer health than their counterparts more than a decade ago. Compared to 1999 results in the 50-64 age group, in 2014, there was a:
- 55 percent higher prevalence of diabetes
- 25 percent higher prevalence of obesity
- 9 percent lower prevalence of “very good to excellent” health status
What does the retirement of boomer-age workers mean to the state of health care in the U.S.? Studies point to some staggering numbers:
- An estimated 10,000 baby boomers are retiring from the U.S. workforce every day.
- Medicare and Medicaid costs are expected to more than double by 2020 since many will lose their health benefits after leaving employment.
- One study estimated that a healthy 65-year-old couple retiring in 2017 would have needed $275,000 to cover out-of-pocket health care expenses throughout retirement, compared to an estimated $260,000 in 2016. This doesn’t even include over-the-counter medications, dental services, or long-term care.
- By 2030, the shortage of physicians is estimated to be 120,000, with retiring health professionals widening the gap, particularly in geriatric care.
Given these conditions, data analytics promises to play an important role in streamlining hospital processes, reducing costs, and improving patient outcomes.
Better Health Care Delivery Aided by Data Analytics
The health care system in the U.S. is expected to face undeniable challenges as more baby boomers reach retirement age, but, the group’s considerable spending on health has led to innovation, including in data analytics. With the right tools at their disposal, HCOs can improve patient-flow patterns, optimize staffing, and use resources more efficiently to eliminate bottlenecks and streamline processes. These efforts can help cut down on waste, reduce long wait times, and curb expensive readmissions.
With little upfront cost, short IT setup time, and no new infrastructure required, d2i’s data analytics solutions can help HCOs prepare for the silver tsunami. Contact us for more information about our analytics tools, or to schedule a 30-minute demo.