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COVER STORY
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O.C. healthcare, continued ...Published: September 01, 2012

Dr. Daniel Bethencourt, with the
Da Vinci robotic surgery system
This ensures that everything done around a patient, any lab tests, treatments and so on, are known to the physician no matter where they are – even if they’re home or in the ER – to check on a patient.
   
“For decades, hospitals didn’t have that interconnectivity, so many times tests would be duplicated or physicians would be unaware of a certain outcome that could affect a patient’s treatment,” says Arbuckle.
   
Additionally, technology such as Da Vinci robots for cardiac care and other surgeries allow physicians to do more-detailed procedures less invasively with less risk and speedier recovery. “We have between 15 and 20 robots, and hospitals use them differently,” says Arbuckle.

The baby boomer influence
The rapid growth of the baby boomer population (those born between 1946 and 1964) will have one of the most significant impacts on the O.C. healthcare system.
   
“Seniors use healthcare at about five-fold the rate of non-seniors,” says Arbuckle. “So the utilization of services will increase, largely due to people living longer within the senior age range.”
   
By 2020, more than three-quarters of a million baby boomers will reside in Orange County. This amounts to a 64 percent increase over the past 15 years.
   
“Boomers have much broader needs. Our focus is on keeping the population healthy, largely through preventive medicine,” says Arbuckle.
   
Baby boomers may be aging, but they expect to have a significant and healthy lifestyle, says Afable, which is very different from aging populations of the past. Boomers expect a higher quality of life, especially as it relates to physical activity.
   
Hospitals designed to service people who are sick do not fit this trend. Therefore hospitals such as Hoag are making efforts to move their healthcare delivery to working within the community to help wellness.
   
“Doctors and hospitals are moving from a sickness model to a wellness model,” says Afable. “We’re changing our focus and our infrastructure of care. Now, instead of waiting for a patient to develop complications of diabetes and treating those complications, we find diabetes early and intervene early so people never develop these issues.”
   
According to Dr. Larry Santora, a cardiologist with the Orange County Heart Institute in Orange, the boomer population changed the way we 
currently treat people.

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