The health care path

Generally (over the last 20 years): inpatient health care (pdf) utilization has been flat, outpatient care steadily increasing, and home health treatments rising.

What emerges is a trend toward treatment options that have become more convenient for patients (the cost usually declines, too; but not necessarily):

Inpatient Care —> Outpatient Care —> Home Health Care

That’s good and the path is getting longer.  Home health care services have been provided to the most needy patients.  The next logical step, which is already being taken, is to provide health care in the home to patients who are not as needy; for example, the home monitoring of cardiac patients.  And home monitoring toes the line on the next logical step: personal care for diagnoses previously needing professional assistance (personal care could/should, definitionally speaking, include personal responsibility for healthy eating/living/exercising as well).

Health care services will continue to be pushed down this path:

Inpatient Care —> Outpatient Care —> Home Health Care —> Personal Care

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