COVID-19 will have long-lasting and permanent effects on the health care as a whole: an increased emphasis on virtual health offerings, no more crowded office waiting rooms, and a change in ‘health consumerism’, to name a few.
As healthcare providers are faced with the humanitarian crisis caused by COVID-19 pandemic, their stress levels have increased around the world. The immediate response to the crisis is causing seismic shifts in how and where care is provided.
The health care services for patients continuing physical distancing remains unclear. However, most forward-thinking healthcare institutes may use this unprecedented moment to scale virtual health initiatives to create competitive advantage.
New health care solutions are helping to provide both care for those directly affected and routine procedures for patients whose regularly scheduled visits with their doctors have been interrupted.
World leaders and CEOs of healthcare provider systems worldwide are dealing with excess demand for hospital health care and struggling with questions about how to provide optimal care for their routine patients. They also deal with questions about what the future of healthcare provision may look like in a post-COVID-19 world.
The lesson of the last few months has shown the potential for fundamental transformations across the allied health fields. These modifications include the relocation of healthcare services, design, planning and construction of facilities, healthcare workers’ education, inventory management of critical care equipment and personal protective equipment, and the optimal care delivery.
The healthcare priority will remain for an anticipated 20 to 24 months, as countries implement moderations and restrictions to fight the virus, increase testing and treatment capability, and find better treatments. The future success of healthcare providers may depend on their ability to adjust to the next normal, dealing with new confronts, and capturing new prospects at speed.
The new reality for Hospitals and Other Healthcare providers
The historical pressure for hospitals worldwide caused by COVID-19 pandemic should bring about reconsideration as to whether healthcare institutions should be the first option when people are getting sick. According to NHS, government health policy may cut the number of emergency and other admissions by suppling more, better services outside of healthcare hubs and hospitals.
Reexamining the best conditions for different patients could lead to appropriate infection control practices, dozens of skilled nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities available for patients with COVID-19 and other patients currently being sent to hospitals.
This statement raises the broader question about how people worldwide should get their care, as well as the future role of hospitals as hubs for care. Care centres and pharmacy clinics are certainly adapting to the changes. However, considering medical care together with social services, and other non-clinical facilities, governments are faced with a need to recognize that a variety of institutions may be ‘healthier’ spots for care.
It is also the right time to think about some hospitals as possible healthcare centres for a greater range of services related to wellbeing, rather than delivering only clinical services. A lot of healthcare hubs and community healthcare systems are already providing education and employment training through partnerships. There may also be other demands for new treatments, advanced technologies and following public anticipations.
The Urgent Call for Technology & Innovation
Health care providers and clinicians have always seen the potential of new technology to help improve patient care, but the need for digital initiatives has accelerated since the outbreak of the virus.
Many healthcare institutions and clinical providers are now concerned with the lack of data-driven healthcare technologies. As several leading healthcare organizations have started to embrace AI and analytics, there’s growing recognition that the future lies in personalized healthcare – and that personalized medicine depends on data and advanced healthcare solutions.
Technological advancements offer a unique pattern of quality and safety for patients, better outcomes, and reduced costs. AI-powered diagnostics, cloud-based storage of medical records, and integration of data & information across the care continuum will continue to be settled and improved, in conjunction with point-of-care devices and home-based monitoring devices.
More informed consumers are now demanding a seamless technology experience regardless of the care setting. Consumers favour the ability to have end-to-end delivery of care, including home delivery of medications and personalized solutions. By building trust with patients in the new care setting is crucial to support the continued use of online-based services. New incentives and capability building to sustain the new operating model will also be needed.
Hospital and healthcare hubs are heavily investing in AI technologies, personalized solutions, Teletech and online-based initiatives, such as e-prescribing and delivery of medications with more flexible use of supplies. Regulators may need to develop new frameworks, especially as more service activities shift from hospitals to out-of-hospital care settings.
Telehealth in the age of a pandemic
As the COVID-19 pandemic escalated, a lot of countries started to push the use of telehealth to address symptoms of the novel coronavirus. Patients, suppliers, providers and big players alike had to adapt — fast.
Local providers, which were faced with empty healthcare clinics, have quickly transformed their business models, offering telemedicine services - from mental health care services to physical therapy.
With mobile apps and dedicated telephone numbers, new telemedicine can reduce the need for patients to leave home and alleviating overcrowding in emergency rooms.
With technology, healthcare providers can assess a patient needs for services, prescribe appropriate treatment, and follow-up care. Not only it helps to reduce the spread of the virus but keeps urgent care centres, doctors’ offices and emergency departments uncrowded and more. For instance, Kaiser Permanente, have been using telehealth actively for years - to increase worker expediency and to cut costs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a persistent demand for telehealth. Broader use of telehealth will reduce the payment obstacle, at least temporarily.
This radical shift further toward technology can ultimately improve patient outcomes. With the help of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and telehealth, medical specialists will soon see their experiences advanced by data, in everything from the logistics of prioritizing patients to how best to support them through diagnosis and treatment. These know-hows are changing the way society sees healthcare – leading to a healthier life with a longer life expectancy.