The impact of COVID-19 on the healthcare industry

COVID-19 has been both the catalyst and the propellant for sweeping healthcare delivery model changes and has shone a light on financial, operational and safety challenges that have undermined the system for decades.

Managed Healthcare Executive believes that while innovation may slow or stall COVID-19, it won’t stop it, and companies will need to keep pushing the limits to retool and improve the healthcare value chain to contain costs, reduce expenditures, improve quality and increase efficiency.

Here are the top trends in the healthcare industry that have been accelerated as a result of COVID-19.

  1. Consumer-driven healthcare

    As with most other industries, consumers are expecting - and demanding - a seamless, personalized and integrated experience when it comes to their healthcare. For this reason new care models and technologies need to address these components of the industry, enable early diagnosis and monitor responses to treatment. Virtual care technologies were another predicted outcome of the consumer trend and this has been accelerated as a result of COVID-19.

  2. Changes in workforce and employment models

    A more savvy consumer combined with an increase in affordable care, has meant that the healthcare system is experiencing a huge supply-demand gap - and this was prior to COVID-19. The situation has now come to a point where solutions need to be sought in order to deliver the right services when and where they’re needed. 

    We’re also seeing working models where doctors and other healthcare professionals are working across multiple sites and collaborating with other providers. Telehealth or virtual care is also on the rise and the technology has proved invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

    COVID-19 has also led to situations where non-clinical staff have been pressed into patient triage while medical students are graduating early to join the front line. Workforce shortages have led to new working models and contracts, including virtual roles and short-term contracts/gigs.

  3. Changing revenue models

    These factors and many more, are currently influencing the state of healthcare in the U.S., also impacting on the overall revenue and cost structures for many providers. These include:
    • Investment required in new technologies and legacy systems that require upgrades
    • Value-based service models changing revenue streams
    • New competitors entering the market with access to and expertise in new technology 
    • Transition to virtual health options which require investment and will change revenue streams
    • Time-consuming reconciliation processes between new and existing accounting and payment systems
    • A more discerning and demanding consumer driving change in delivery and cost.

As a result of these factors and COVID-19, U.S.-based healthcare providers will not only need to secure their revenue streams and structures in this ever-changing environment, but they’ll also need to look at innovative ways to reduce costs. By doing so, providers can hope to free up capital to invest in and streamline their processes to ensure they’re working as efficiently as possible. 

Where to now for the healthcare industry?

As with many industries worldwide, consumers are becoming increasingly educated and discerning. They’re expecting personalized, integrated and cost-effective outcomes via digital platforms, for every aspect of their lives, including healthcare. 

Many of these trends have been accelerated by COVID-19 and so healthcare providers need to seek innovative ways to cost-effectively achieve their goals.

To read more on the current trends in the healthcare industry, download the following eBook.