Improvements in healthcare and health innovation have significantly improved the quality of life in the elder population. Over the last several decades, these advancements have cut down on deaths from preventable causes, increasing longevity, life span, and functional ability in the elderly population. As the World continues to age with reduced morbidity and mortality, we see a substantial increase in our > 65 population. With this world population demographic shift, the cost of healthcare has skyrocketed. It is undeniable to conceive that it is cheaper to manage the care of the healthy young patient, then the elderly.
Canadian residents benefit from National Healthcare Coverage, in Ontario it is recognized as OHIP. As residents of Toronto, Mississauga, North York, Brampton and beyond, we are privy to numerous healthcare provider options without much concern for cost. However, with demographic shifts, inefficient benefits, and expensive treatment modalities, the burden of “free healthcare” cost has crippled OHIP. As a reactive measure, Ontario has reduced provider reimbursements, eliminated coverage programs, and have forced hospitals to reduce in-patient length of stays.
The unintended rippled reaction to cost control has slowly shown its face. Reduced reimbursement has encouraged providers to see fewer patients, shifting responsibility on patients for their own health maintenance rather than in office visits. Lifestyle modification, diet, and exercise, are many modalities used to prevent that doctor visit. Under the pretense of “Decentralizing Healthcare” and “reducing Hospital acquired illnesses”, patients are discharged from hospitals at a faster rate. The questions beg, what if I am still sick?, where do I go after discharge? With the elimination of covered services, who will help the patient in their post discharge needs? Patients now find themselves covering the costs for home physiotherapy, rehabilitation, and assisted living services just to name a few.
Patients are faced with the dilemma of early discharge from hospitals, incomplete baseline health, reduced post discharge covered services, and with limited support systems in place. In order to address this void, an old industry has re-emerged, Home Care. Reverting back to the times of when your physician regularly made home house call visits. We see the evolution of this industry in line with MACRO trends associated with autonomy, on-demand, and at your convenience care. With limited OHIP covered home health services in place, and with services such as CCAC leaving much to be desired, we see a relatively fractured industry.
This has opened the doors to enable companies within the private sector to tackle this problem with agility and less concern for restriction. Companies have recognized patient needs for home assisted living, in home physiotherapy, in home medication delivery, home wound care, visiting nursing and physician care services. As such, newcomers such as Therapia Health Management therapia.com, providing at home physiotherapy at convenience of time, choice of price and therapist, are attempting to close the healthcare gap between the hospital discharge and your doctor’s office. The struggles of home care within the GTA are similar issues seen by many other large cities throughout North America, however, as an industry, now that we aware of the problem, can we now work on an effective solution.