EXPERTS IN HEALTHCARE ENGINEERING
WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR HEALTHCARE IN THE NETHERLANDS?
The demand for healthcare is constantly changing due to several reasons. The world’s population has a higher life expectancy and is becoming older. Old age causes many infirmities and therefore causes an increase in demand for healthcare. Furthermore we are confronted with more and more lifestyle diseases including diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure due to our unhealthy diets, stress and the lack of movement in our daily lives. The amount of people being diagnosed with cancer is also on the rise.
Following the changes in demand for healthcare in The Netherlands there is a trend leaning towards the decentralization of healthcare. Large hospitals are splitting into smaller specialized clinics resulting in better accessibility for patients as well as providing a more specialized service to every patient.
Because of new forms of cooperation, new variations of clinics arise. There are for example clinics with high-tech medical equipment where people are diagnosed and then forwarded to their necessary treatment. This can be a specialised clinic which focuses on the diagnosed illness and has all knowledge necessary under one roof but without the expensive diagnosis equipment such as an MRI scan. Patients with more complicated illnesses can also be directed to a traditional hospital.
More and more specialised clinics are being built which focus on certain illnesses such as cancer. Here patients can be diagnosed and be treated with access to all medical equipment and expertise, within a small timeframe, sometimes the treatment can even start within one day.
Another healthcare form can be described as a “total health care concept”, here a number of specialised medical institutions are all available at one location. Through close cooperation the different specialists strengthen each other, intensive treatment and quick referral from one specialist to another will be possible. Furthermore, locations like this provide excellent opportunities for training medical staff.
Another new concept is “e-health” or “e-medicine”. For patients who are immobile or live far away from medical centres, e-medicine could be a solution. The patient can contact a medic through a protected internet webpage and will be able to discuss his/her medical needs. However the largest disadvantage is that doctors would not be able to physically examine the patient. But for monitoring and support as well as physical problems, “e-medicine” can provide a good and cheap alternative service for all.
Within all these different medical institutions, the patient is the main priority. Within the small scale clinics, waiting times will be shorter. An important factor is that the patient will reside within a pleasant atmosphere and building which will emit a certain standard of professionalism. Because of this, the patients will be more relaxed and due to the “healing environment principle” he/she should require less medication and could be discharged earlier.
Because certain demographic developments could be relevant to India, the forms of healthcare described above could be of interest to India.