It’s not news that Nova Scotia is facing a huge issue regarding its healthcare system and the patients it will inevitably be supporting. Chronic illness, growing youth obesity and an aging population will be placing a strenuous burden on our current system. Will we soon see a shift in this burden? Are we ready for radical change?
The rising cost of healthcare is not only an indicator of our population’s health, but also our ability to be a competitive place to live and do business. Tax dollars that are allocated to our healthcare system are only going to rise, taking funding away from other provincial programs and resulting in a lowered standard of care. With an increase in healthcare spending of 6-7 per cent year after year according to Capital Health, something has to give.
What are we doing to fix this problem? The Department of Health and Wellness is placing a strong focus on a number of key areas, including preventative measures to alleviate child obesity through healthy eating programs and promotion of physical activity.
The health department is shortening wait times by creating programs that ensure seniors can be treated at home and avoid trips to the emergency room, a win-win situation that will continue to assist as a large percentage of our population ages.
And finally, technology will play a vital role in creating a cloud collaboration system that allows doctors and other health care providers a snap shot of their patients’ history online. This improves safety of patients and efficiencies in the entire system.
These mandates will not happen overnight. However, innovation and collaboration within the healthcare system will set Nova Scotia on the right track for alleviating the burden that ultimately will go back on taxpayers’ shoulders.
From an individual perspective, what can we do for enhanced healthcare and personal health?
We are all accountable for our own health, and the health of our children. While some chronic illnesses are hereditary or otherwise unavoidable, many other illnesses are preventable thorough healthier living. Healthier eating and physical activity are achievable through education and planning. Make sure that you are the example of health in both your office and your home.
Creating healthy habits doesn’t have to be expensive or all-consuming. There are many simple steps we can all take, such as packing a lunch everyday with whole foods rather than processed foods, and finding a relaxing area to enjoy food away from your desk. Incorporate 30 minutes of exercise with your spouse, children or co-workers in the morning or over lunch or right after dinner. (There is no bad weather, just bad gear!). Encourage staff days to focus on nutritional education, time management and developing tools to deal with stress. Small changes can create a big impact over time and inspire others.
Becky Davison is the Chamber’s Marketing & Communication Specialist. She manages the Chamber communications including Business Voice, Outlook and All Ships Rise. Becky develops content and works with members to ensure that issues are being covered and communicated through our membership and business community. Media releases, internal and external communications and managing web content are also Becky’s responsibilities. Becky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (902) 481-1234.