Many readers who come to this blog want to learn more about Kona as it pertains to moving here and making it a permanent home. I have received MANY inquiries about the health care status of the Big Island, as many of our “would-be” residents are over 55 and flying to Oahu is not an enticing venture for folks with chronic health problems. So, here is a guest blog post to give you some valuable information. If you have questions, please comment below!
Guest blog written by Brett Carey, DPT, Clinic Director of Therapydia Kona, a physical therapy and wellness clinic.
The Big Island, like all of the Hawaiian Islands, is expected to see an increase in demand for healthcare services over the next few years. To meet this demand, medical communities across the Big Island have started to strategize and create new methods to deliver care. Health care doesn’t just come down to treating patients during appointments, but communicating information about common conditions with patients throughout the Big Island. Health practitioners have been working to change the general perception of what healthcare is all about by focusing on raising awareness about preventable diseases. One key group of doctors in these medical communities are specialist doctors. Specialists bring their own treatment strategies and points of view to every medical community. Having specialists come into the Big Island will result in a stronger medical system and a better level of awareness. This is beneficial for all parties: the patients, the other doctors, and the specialists.
More Specialists, Better Care
Recently, Hawaii has been looking to pinpoint the state’s top health issues and focus on addressing them. This is where specialists come into play on the Big Island. Last year, Hawaii gained 4 more specialists. Medical groups on the Big Island are looking to grow the amount of specialists in order to focus on having an all-around better state of healthcare. Having more specialists on the Big Island allows for patients to feel comfortable with the healthcare in their community. Additionally, it gives other doctors on the Big Island more of an opportunity to expand their level of treatment by having specialists available to direct patients to. Overall, the Big Island is looking to see an upward trend of gaining more specialists and diversifying the type of medical care available to patients. Having a base of specialists on the will bridge gaps in awareness and give patients the resources they need.
The Big Island has three major critical access hospitals—Kona Community Hospital, North Community Hospital, and Hilo Medical Center. The Big Island also has a good amount of local private practices, community health centers, and walk-in clinics available. There is a demand with the room for specialist supply at most hospitals. Therefore, any specialists have the opportunity to integrate themselves into a variety of practice types. For example, a cardiologist or a neurologist has the chance to create a base for their speciality on the Big Island. Establishing a private practice is an entrepreneurial venture that can also greatly impact local communities. Most patients and even some physicians might be unaware of preventive health methods related to certain specialities. There’s a need to reach out to patients and providers to define exactly how a specialty such as cardiology or neurology will have positive impact on the Big Island’s overall health. Besides building their own practice, a specialist can also join a board to continue to develop local connections. Currently, there are plans to create more teaching facilities as a part of the Big Island’s medical network. In the future, there are opportunities for specialists to jump into mentoring programs with other physicians at these facilities.
Part Of The Community
Establishing a strong base of specialists on the Big Island will begin to overcome general lack of awareness about public health resources. For example, many residents on the Big Island are unaware about common chronic health conditions because of lack of access to care. With more specialists on the Big Island, it will be that much easier to step up efforts to reach patients. For specialists, the opportunity to integrate themselves into the medical community comes along with being a part of the Big Island’s small town culture. It’s not only unique as a part of the Hawaiian Islands, but unique with the Islands as well. For specialties on the Big Island, every single provider matters. Putting down roots in the medical community will be met with incredible gratitude.