Move away from illness-based approach for healthcare

Annual healthcare spending has been increasing every year since 2010, with a projected cost of $13 billion next year.
Annual healthcare spending has been increasing every year since 2010, with a projected cost of $13 billion next year. PHOTO: ST FILE

The rising cost of healthcare in Singapore has been well documented.

Annual healthcare spending has been increasing every year since 2010, with a projected cost of $13 billion next year. While there are many reasons contributing to this, the long-term upward trend of healthcare costs is worrying.

Currently, high cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and obesity are prevalent in as much as one-third of the population.

Additionally, it is predicted that there will be a significant increase in the number of diabetes, heart attack and stroke cases by 2030.

These chronic issues are preventable though.

As costs to treat these issues continue to rise, the Health Promotion Board needs to reconceptualise healthcare from an illness-based approach to one of optimising health needs.

Such an emphasis offers significant benefits, such as improvement of overall health and prevention of health issues, and will also reduce costs.

This requires little investment in technology, medication, special training or innovative facilities.

Promoting the benefits of living a healthy life will also reduce the projected increase of chronic diseases that are preventable.

Alan Cromlish

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 16, 2019, with the headline 'Move away from illness-based approach for healthcare'. Print Edition | Subscribe