Currently, we are living in historic times. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has revolutionized almost every sector of the economy, and especially the health industry. Its current impact has sent world leaders and influencers back to the drawing board. The health industry is undergoing a restructuring process
COVID-19 has changed the operations of the health sector; changes that are mandatorily seeping into the future.
Let us delve into specifics.
- Health insurance will no longer rely on employment status
For the longest time, America tied health insurance to employment status. However, COVID-19 has not only claimed the lives of over 900,000 people worldwide, but it has also led to the loss of approximately 1.7 million jobs. The world’s economy is on a downward spiral and companies are continuing to send home hundreds of thousands of employees. Considering that provision of healthcare is a basic need, health insurance providers need to come up with newer ways of offering health insurance. No longer will it depend on employment status. Marginalized communities will now have access to healthcare, unlike previous times.
- Implementation of alternative healthcare strategies
Countries are coming up with alternative healthcare strategies, and especially for people who are at risk for non-communicable diseases.
Healthcare service disruptions and mostly in third world countries has led to more people not being able to access healthcare. At-risk people continue to die every day due to the lack of proper health care. As a result, various governments are implementing various strategies to keep their citizens from contracting the virus.
For starters, governments are launching social distancing policies as a public health response to the pandemic. Wholesale face masks are readily available at reduced prices. These are temporary containment measures to help with the spread of the deadly virus.
- Hospital staffing
Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, health centers have undergone staff shortages. With infections rising at alarming rates and physicians contracting the virus in the line of work, medical centers are experiencing difficulties in the provision of safe working environments. Additionally, challenges in providing proper patient care seem to be the order of the day.
As such the healthcare industry is taking the necessary measures to increase its hospital physician staffing. The health sector is now employing more healthcare providers to cater to the needs of patients. Additionally, it is providing additional resources to help deal with the escalating panic, stress, and anxiety.
Other measures taken to ensure adequate staffing include:-
- Cancellation of non-essential hospital processes. Employees working in these areas were shifted to departments that needed additional staff.
- The hiring of additional nurses, doctors, physicians, and other medical practitioners to ensure service efficiency.
- Addressing issues such as transportation that might prevent hospital staff from reporting for work.
- Addressing housing demands for medical practitioners, where the health sector is ensuring medical workers live in houses that allow for social distancing, especially those that live with people with underlying medical conditions.
- Virtual Care is on the rise
Over the past few years, medical practitioners have been embracing virtual care for their patients. However, with the impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the healthcare industry is encouraging and facilitating the implementation of virtual care in as many health centers as possible.
Also known as telehealth, virtual care is crucial at such times when the world is experiencing a global health crisis. People are happy with the idea of virtual consultations and it is now more than a complementary healthcare service.
Besides, this platform is a critical measure in safeguarding the health of people, both the healthy and the infected. By scheduling remote screenings, medical practitioners can decide whether a visit to a health facility is needed or home-based care is the better option. Considering that people with underlying medical conditions are at a higher risk of contracting the virus, virtual care has helped in minimizing the possibility of them being infected.
By preventing unnecessary exposure through telehealth, healthcare facilities will operate efficiently and preserve medical supplies. Considering all these benefits, it is accurate to assume that virtual care is here to stay. It is now not only used to monitor home-based care patients with less severe COVID-19 infections but also in the management of chronic illnesses such as cancer.
- Domestic manufacturing of hospital supplies
With the surge in the number of COVID-19 infections, governments were in a race to import medical supplies. In America, the healthcare sector in conjunction with the government had to airlift medical supplies and protective gear from China in a speedy effort to combat the spread of the deadly virus. Masks, ventilators, and COVID-19 specimen collection kits are some of the supplies medical centers are in dire need of. However, these efforts are financially draining to the health sector considering the huge financial injections needed to ensure a steady supply of hospital equipment.
The healthcare industry is now aware of its damaged supply chain. A majority of countries rely on China for the provision of products, which is now proving to be a challenge that needs to be immediately addressed. As a result, various governments are considering the domestic manufacture of hospital supplies as a measure to ensure the safety of their patients. By doing so, medical supplies will be readily available, allowing efficient hospital operations as well as create a safe working environment for medical workers to avoid exposure to life-threatening infections such as the Coronavirus.
- Reduced healthcare prices
Previously, healthcare in the United States was on a steady incline. However, with the current crisis, healthcare prices are expected to go down. Governments realize the negative impact of COVID-19 concerning the loss of income of its citizens and it is liaising with healthcare experts to come up with ways to provide affordable healthcare even to people without a source of income. That way, everyone gains access to the medical care they need without any difficulties.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed loopholes in the healthcare industry. What we can only hope is that the transformations happening last a lifetime.