Baby Boomers to Challenge and Change Tomorrow's Health Care System
The over-65 population will nearly triple between 1980 and 2030 as a result of the aging Baby Boomers, adding new demands and challenges on an already stressed-out health system, according to a new report released today by First Consulting Group of Long Beach, Calif. With new projections on Boomer health into 2030, the report details how this powerful population will impact health care for decades to come.
"Today's report outlines a tidal wave of health needs - Boomers are just the beginning," said Rich Umbdenstock, president of the American Hospital Association (AHA). "The good news is more of us will be active and enjoying our later years. But to meet the health challenges that come with that, we will need a greater focus on wellness and prevention, new approaches to care delivery, and a new look at the American health care system."
The first Boomers will turn 65 in 2011 and, according to today's report, more than 37 million of them - six out of 10 - will be managing more than one chronic condition by 2030. Also by 2030:
14 million Boomers will be living with diabetes - that's one out of every four Boomers.
Almost half of the Boomers will live with arthritis and that number peaks to just over 26 million in 2020.
More than one out of three Boomers - over 21 million - will be considered obese.
As patients live with multiple chronic diseases, demand for services will increase. The number of physician visits has been increasing for all adults, up 34 percent over the last decade, and this trend is expected to continue. By 2020, Boomers will account for four in 10 office visits to physicians. Over the next 20 years, Boomers will make up a greater proportion of hospitalizations as they live longer but with multiple complex conditions. At the same time, the number of registered nurses, primary care and specialty physicians will not keep pace with demand. As the Boomer generation is more racially and ethnically diverse, there will also be a greater need for caregivers who reflect the diversity of this population.
With changing demands, expectations and new technology, care delivery will also change. Boomers have lived through an amazing array of medical advances, from polio vaccine to radical heart surgery, and that trend will continue over the next two decades. Procedures like minimally invasive surgery, new imaging techniques that "see" through the skin, and remote care technologies will improve the quality of many Boomers' lives allowing them new opportunities.
Today's study was prepared by First Consulting Group at the request of the AHA to help hospitals better prepare for the impending tidal wave of Baby Boomers and their care needs. The full report is available online at www.aha.org.
About the AHA
The AHA is a not-for-profit association of health care provider organizations and individuals that are committed to the health improvement of their communities. The AHA is the national advocate for its members, which include nearly 5,000 hospitals, health care systems, networks, other providers of care and 43,000 individual members. Founded in 1898, the AHA provides education for health care leaders and is a source of information on health care issues and trends. For more information, visit the AHA website at www.aha.org.
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