By Craig Beam

As we mark the milestone arrival of a brand-new year — in fact, a whole new decade — now is the perfect time to reflect on the state of healthcare. In some ways we have much good news to celebrate! And in others, we still have work to do.

At Petra, we partner with health system and hospital CEOs every day, giving us keen insight into the unique challenges they face and are working to solve as well as emerging trends and new developments that impact how they serve patients every day.

In a three-part blog series, I’ll take a look at the state of healthcare from three different angles:

  1. Good news to celebrate about the state of healthcare
  2. Emerging healthcare developments to look forward to
  3. Areas of opportunity for healthcare to do better

Let’s get started with part one.

Good News To Celebrate About the State of Healthcare

Take a minute to think positively! Despite the bad-news healthcare headlines that can dominate the list of things that keep healthcare leaders up at night, we really have many reasons to celebrate. The state of healthcare today is marked by major news, developments, and advances that have changed our industry for the better and, most importantly, are changing the lives of the patients we all serve.

Let’s take a look at four recent developments that definitely are reasons to celebrate:

1. Cancer mortality rates are down. We just got news of an historic decline in cancer mortality rates. The American Cancer Society reported the sharpest drop on record — a 2.2% drop between 2016 and 2017, driven mostly by lung cancer mortality rates. That’s nearly 3 million fewer deaths. For the last 30 years, cancer mortality rates have been falling, but only by about 1.5% each year. New treatments and screenings for cancers like lung, breast, prostate, and melanoma, plus falling smoking rates which specifically impact lung cancer, are all factors in the decline.

2. Specific disease outcomes are improving. Advances in treatments for HIV, Hepatitis C, and HPV prevention are improving outcomes and disease maintenance — giving patients new hope and, in many cases, a new lease on life. New vaccines are making a difference today and show promise for tomorrow. A new antiviral treatment for Hepatitis C is combating the virus as well as reducing related complications, which can be fatal. This is incredible news for the nearly 2.4 million Americans who live with Hepatitis C. It also will help address the rising risks of Hepatitis C infection due to the opiod crisis. And three HIV vaccines currently in late-stage trials have scientists expressing optimism — raising hope for an effective vaccine as soon as 2021.

3. New devices are game-changers. Continued technological advances and device improvements have changed both treatments and outcomes — in addition to healthcare delivery and hospital design. Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) is one major development to celebrate as part of the state of healthcare today. Hailed as a lifeline for patients who previously were not considered candidates for open heart surgery, it has improved symptom management while reducing mortality rates. The procedural success rate stands at 90 percent. And research shows after one year TAVR patients have lower rates of death, stroke, and re-hospitalization compared to open heart surgery. As a result of this success, cath labs are being updated to accommodate TAVR procedures, as studies have shown it can be performed safely in either hybrid operating rooms or cath labs, with cath labs offering substantial cost savings.

4. Access to healthcare is rising. With the decline in US poverty rates and increase in median household income, more Americans now have access to the healthcare they need. US poverty rates have been dropping for four consecutive years. Since 2014, the rate has fallen 3 percentage points from 14.8 percent to 11.8 percent. In the same time period, real median household income for family households has also increased every year. The real median household income for non-family households also increased from 2017 to 2018. With better access comes better prevention, better treatment, and better outcomes.

What do you think? What else you think we have to celebrate about the state of healthcare today? Email your thoughts to me directly at . You can also visit our LinkedIn page to comment on our post featuring this blog.

Keep an eye out for my next blog in the series focused on the state of healthcare, which will address the promises of the future and emerging healthcare developments we have to look forward to.

No matter what the future brings, Petra will continue aligning healthcare trends with strategic intent and serving as a strong partner healthcare leaders can rely on to help them adapt to changes in the healthcare and construction industries — to ensure every project meets tomorrow’s healthcare needs.

At Petra, we are true partners with our clients. We’re team players, and collaboration is the name of our game. We’re proud to be trusted advisors who work side by side with our clients. Our entire team is driven by our shared passion to create better, because we believe every patient deserves better. Together we create better every day.

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