Healthcare Sustainability: Here Is How Things Will Change

Healthcare Sustainability Igea Luca Dezzani

 

Sustainable Health Care Infographic

According to World Health Organization (WHO), the total global expenditure for health amounted to US$ 6.5 trillion as of the year 2012 which is equivalent to US$ 948 per person per year. Moreover,  the country with the highest total spending per person per year on health was noted to be United States of America (US$ 8362) and Eritrea (US$ 12) with the lowest. On the other hand, among all countries, Luxembourg (US$ 6906) had the highest government spending per person per year on health while Myanmar (US$ 2) had the lowest.

In the U.S., based on the national health expenditure (NHE) data presented by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, both current and projected health care cost have been noted and expected to increase over the years. In fact, overall U.S. health care spending in the year 2014 increased by 5.3 percent following growth of 2.9 percent in 2013 to reach $3.0 trillion, or $9,523 per person and for the years 2014-2024, health care spending has been projected to increase at an average rate of 5.8 percent per year.

On the other hand, to gain an in-depth understanding about the main contributors for the constantly increasing healthcare cost, we need to look into more specific details of NHE such as the statistics for health spending by service including hospital, physician and prescription drugs. According to NHE data, in the year 2014, $ 971.8 billion was noted to be the total spending for hospital services, $603.7 billion for physician and clinical services and $ 297.7 billion for prescription drugs. Furthermore, in the year 2024, healthcare spending was projected to increase to $ 1755.1 billion for hospital services, $1034.8 billion for physician and clinical services and $564.3 billion for prescription drugs.

With the statistical facts stated above, embedding sustainability to the current healthcare system is clearly a great challenge. Hence, WHO is exerting its best effort to make health more equitable and to help each country develop the capability to use available funds efficiently. However, these measures may be insufficient to address the problem on healthcare sustainability. The current healthcare system in each country needs to acknowledge different factors such as ageing population, a shift to chronic care and on-going economic pressures that may affect the stability of the current system. Hence, cost optimization should be the top priority to achieve sustainable healthcare. This goal can only be attained through the combined efforts of all the stakeholders of the healthcare system, including pharmaceutical companies, patients, health professionals and policy makers should work together to provide them with the opportunity to adapt to the constantly changing needs of the society.

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