The healthcare sector is struggling to respond to the on-going coronavirus crisis and altering their operations to meet their goals.
However, this is also the time to define and prepare for the future of care amid this uncertainty.
What will be the post coronavirus scenario? How can healthcare organizations deal with a range of challenges? What are the hidden opportunities?
Care providers need to ponder over the results of their digital health system and agenda lead to. Besides, they should understand how information technology can respond to challenges and opportunities arising in this “new normal”.
The healthcare organizations have to work on key areas in this time of uncertainty: building virtual care, dealing with the financial impact of the COVID 19, and implying the lessons learned from dealing with the pandemic.
Here we will go through each area:
Telehealth has become a booming sector as more and more patients are looking for virtual care.
However, virtual healthcare services are being delivered through inefficient infrastructure. For example, to serve more patients, many healthcare organizations use inferior tools and inefficient services to get the job done. Patients expect quality telehealth services.
Given that virtual care has become a part of the new normal, the health system should conduct a robust, permanent system that can include financial, organizational, clinical structures, and processes.
The health system will need to incorporate telehealth technology with the electronic data; define healthcare protocols; get reimbursement for telehealth visits, and enhance hospital and physician practice to support the virtual health system.
Providing care in the right environment is equally important. For instance, can one deliver chronic care management through home health services, minimizing clinical visits?
According to one study, the healthcare industry lost an estimated $202.06 billion due to the declined revenue and a sharp rise in COVID 19 cases. Although patients are slowly getting back to hospitals, admissions are 10.5% lower compared to those in 2019.
To deal with their revenue concerns, many healthcare organizations will speed up their movement to value-oriented services, and those that deliver health plans will highlight them.
Therefore, these healthcare organizations need to invest in several virtual health or healthcare services through digital platforms. It includes analytical data that lets them view disease, insurance coverage, and clinician as well as the cost and quality of care. Remote patient monitoring and other technologies are also required to help patients manage their conditions.
To minimize expenses, health systems should thoroughly assess opportunities to imply digital health tools to simplify their operations.
During the crisis, many healthcare systems noticed flaws in their analytics capabilities.
Data quality was not organized, analyses took a long time and predictive systems were not that efficient.
Besides, the managers and physicians were not able to handle the data.
A New Approach to the Crisis Management
The good thing is that pandemic prompted the healthcare systems to make a quick decision to respond to the challenges such as equipment shortage and safety protocols. The emergency also taught the systems to “get creative” when it comes to managing clinical and operational processes.
The new methods have also been adapted to deliver telework; incorporate the use of chatbots to listen to patient questions and concerns, and maintain collaboration.
The positives learned from this uncertain time should be enhanced and incorporated into organizational capabilities.
While this pandemic has taken a heavy toll on lives and jobs, we can still shape what comes next. Coronavirus has prompted healthcare organizations to respond faster, perform smarter, and take a more detailed approach to decision-making.
Digital health solutions and technology will play an important role in the stressful process of reviewing processes and systems for improved efficiency, financial capability, and desired results.
Though it is challenging to go through this new normal, there is a great opportunity to make healthcare more accessible, more efficient, and more focused than ever before.
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