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In 2015 expect increasing healthcare challenges from (i) aging populations and rising chronic illnesses, (ii) escalating costs and patchy quality, (iii) access, (iv) changing technologies, and (v) security. 
 
Aging populations and chronic illness
Aging populations and the escalating prevalence of chronic lifelong diseases, will drive demand for healthcare in 2015, and impose significant burdens on healthcare systems.
 
Europe has the world's highest proportion of people over 60. By 2017, 20% of Europeans will be over 65. By 2050 about 40% will be over 60. The US has similar trends. This aging and the increasing prevalence of chronic lifestyle diseases will continue to drive healthcare expansion, and pressure to reduce healthcare costs.  
 
Escalating costs and patchy quality
According to the World Healthcare Outlook of the Economist Intelligence Unit 2014, total global health spending is expected to grow at over 5% in 2015.
 
In Europe rising government debts, constraints on tax revenues, and aging populations will force health providers to make difficult choices about the provision of healthcare. Rising demand, and continued cost pressures will increase pressure on traditional healthcare business models and operating processes to change.
 
Despite the expected annual productivity and efficiency savings of some 4%, UK healthcare expenditure in 2015 is estimated to be about 10.3% of GDP. In the absence of changes to the delivery model, the UK's NHS funding gap is likely to increase significantly in 2015.
 
In their struggle to manage the escalating healthcare costs, health providers will accelerate their transition from volume to value. This will mean a greater emphasis on improving outcomes while lowering costs. This will drive payers to seek out global best practices of delivering affordable quality healthcare such as Narayana Health.
 
Access 
Improving access to healthcare will be one of the most pressing policy issues in 2015. Shortages of health professionals represent significant challenges in healthcare access, and healthcare systems will be pressed to recruit, and retain health professionals.The US is addressing this. US employment in healthcare increased from 8.7% of the civilian population in 1998 to 10.5% in 2008, and is projected to rise to 11.9% (nearly 20 million people) by 2018.
 
The UK is not in such a good position. In 2012 the UK had a shortage of 40,00 nurses, which it hasn't resolved. This is compounded by shortages GPs. Europe has an estimated shortage of some 230,00 doctors.
 
Increasingly, developed countries recruit health professionals from developing economies. The morality of this will be further questioned in 2015 as the policy significantly erodes the number and quality of healthcare professionals in emerging countries.
 
Changing technologies
The development of healthcare technologies has been rapid, and in some cases disruptive. Technologies such as telemedicine, electronic health records, mHealth, e-prescriptions, and predictive analytics have changed the way health providers, payers and patients interact, and contributed to improved quality of care, lower costs and improved outcomes. In 2015 expect the spend on healthcare technologies to slow.  
 
Security    
Reportedly, there is a growing and lucrative black-market for personally identifiable information, and personal healthcare information. Many healthcare organizations already have low security budgets, and only about 50% employ adequate encryption technologies to secure their endpoint data. Compared with other industries, healthcare experiences significant losses of endpoint healthcare data. Security challenges for the healthcare sector will accelerate in 2015. 
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6 years, 8 months ago

Globally, healthcare is at the centre of a big data boom that may prove to be one of the most significant drivers of healthcare change in the next decade. Today, we’re collecting more information than at any point in healthcare history.

In the UK, big data strategy is spearheaded by Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt and NHS England. In the US it is led by the Obama Administration’s big data R&D initiative.

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7 years, 2 months ago

In May 2013 Sir David Nicholson, the head of NHS England, announced his resignation. Nicholson was aninsider’s insider and his in-depth knowledge of the organisation served well his political masters, but he was unable to bring about much needed transformative change.

Escalating costs, changing technology, the growth and spread of diseases and an ageing population all conspire to present the NHS with its biggest challenge since it was created in 1948.

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