HOW HEALTH CARE AND HEALTH CHALLENGES CHANGED SINCE 2020
Lessons in Leadership
for Health Coaches
Based on historical patterns and trends up until and since events in 2020, several areas of health could be seen as urgent:
Mental Health: The pandemic has significantly exacerbated mental health conditions due to the isolation, fear, uncertainty, and economic challenges it brought. Addressing mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, and suicide prevention, will be a critical public health priority.
Health Disparities: COVID-19 highlighted and widened the health disparities in the U.S., particularly among racial and ethnic minority groups. Improving access to quality healthcare, addressing social determinants of health, and reducing systemic inequities are urgent health needs.
Chronic Diseases: The prevalence of chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and cancer is a long-standing public health concern for better prevention and management of these conditions are critical.
Substance Use Disorders: The opioid crisis and other substance use disorders remain significant public health issues. The stress and isolation related to the pandemic may have worsened these issues.
Long-COVID: Even with the pandemic under control, the health impacts may continue due to “Long-COVID,” where symptoms persist for weeks or months after the acute phase of the infection. Understanding and addressing this condition is an important research and healthcare need area.
Health Infrastructure: The pandemic has also highlighted the need to strengthen the health infrastructure, including public health capabilities, health information systems, supply chains for health products, and capacity for research and development.
Short on help
One of the most pressing health crises in the United States is the pronounced shortage of healthcare workers. As the Department of Health and Human Services reported, this scarcity presents a significant challenge for our healthcare system. Detailed statistics can be found at https://data.hrsa.gov/topics/health-workforce/shortage-areas, demonstrating the severity of this crisis.
Our country is currently experiencing a deficit of over 17,200 primary care physicians and a shortfall of 12,200 dentists and 8,200 mental health physicians. These figures only scratch the surface, as they don’t account for support workers such as nurses and medical assistants, whose roles are equally essential in providing comprehensive care.
The website provides in-depth data to understand the geographical distribution and precise numbers of these shortages. This acute issue underscores the need for immediate measures to address these gaps and ensure accessible, quality healthcare for all.
Information Sharing Got Easier
The 21st Century Cures Act, enacted in the United States, has made significant strides toward enhancing patient access to their health information, fostering transparency, and facilitating better health management. Here’s an improved version of your statement:
Thanks to the 21st Century Cures Act, managing our health information has been greatly simplified since 2021. This groundbreaking legislation has made our health data readily available at no charge, typically accessible through our patient portals. These comprehensive records include notes made by our doctors and other healthcare professionals concerning test results, summaries of care, and other pertinent health information.
Previously, during each visit to our healthcare provider, we might have noticed them diligently documenting details of the visit, including notes, diagnoses, treatments, and other relevant information. Obtaining these notes used to be challenging. However, under the mandate of the 21st Century Cures Act, it has become a standard of care for patients to receive this information upon request. This transparency gives us a clearer understanding of our health and enables us to manage our healthcare proactively. Learn more.
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