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How will a changing global landscape affect health care providers?

By Heidi Moawad

Health care is expanding its reach in many directions. Globalization is increasingly allowing patients throughout the world to access all types of health care from anywhere in the world. Between the growth in medical tourism, medical missions service, international education, and the increasing intersection of western medicine into eastern culture and eastern medicine into western culture, individuals have vaster array of choices to preserve their health than ever before. At the same time, the trend of specialized urban medical centers extending their facilities to reach small, localized patient populations in response to patient demands for convenience, and the development of enhanced telemedicine capabilities, have allowed more patients to remain local while obtaining cutting edge health care, than ever before. The population around the world is becoming better educated and, thus, more interested in exploring personal health care options. Up to date information is available to a growing percentage of the world’s healthy and sick as a consequence of improved technology and communication channels.

Image credit: Photo by Carol Garcia / SECOM, CC BY 2.0, via Flickr.

How do all of these developments affect health care providers? More and more doctors, dentists, nurses, therapists and pharmacists are becoming important players in the currently emerging divergent trends of both wide spanning globalization and localization in health care. Health care providers are responding to the many exciting changes in the health care atmosphere by becoming skilled at improved ways to deliver health care and learning how to advance health care as a whole. Globalization and localization are affecting our current time, making it a key time in history for knowledgeable doctors and all health care providers who can use their skills and background in non-traditional ways to respond to the expanding demands in the health care field.

When innovation becomes available, individuals demand the services immediately.  Yet the providers who deliver these services continue to spend years meticulously evaluating the effectiveness, the benefits, the drawbacks, and the best ways to enhance integration of new ways with old. Many providers relish the opportunity to become part of new developments early on, even prior to regulatory stability. Early adopters of the latest advances can play a principal role in directing the prevailing guidelines as they develop. Health care providers must be prepared to adapt to globalization and localization in health care delivery. And, while adapting is critical, it is even more advantageous to anticipate emerging trends and to play a fundamental role in moving medical care in a positive direction.

Heidi Moawad MD is author of Careers Beyond Clinical Medicine, a resource for health care professionals who are interested in improving the health care system. Dr. Moawad teaches at John Carroll University in University Heights, Ohio and in a recipient of The McGregor Course Development Grant Award in Globalization Studies.

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