COVID-19 is having an unprecedented impact on the entire world. It is, of course, taking a tremendous toll on patients, families, and health care providers. However, this pandemic might be a window of opportunity. We are protecting workers and providing paid sick leave. Some states are expanding Medicaid broadening access to healthcare as unemployment skyrockets and markets collapse. We need to use this time to implement the necessary changes in healthcare. COVID is changing the way healthcare is organized, distributed, and delivered. Here are five ways COVID is changing healthcare for the better.
New Elective Surgery Strategies
Patents who put off elective surgeries due to COVID can be at ease with the knowledge that it is safe to enter hospitals and other healthcare facilities. Simply stating that a facility is open is not effective enough for patients who feel they can wait to have procedures. Health systems are developing the right approach to engage patients and make them feel safe. Health systems are taking the initiative to be transparent about doing things to make things safe.
Healthcare worker safety, patients’ inability to travel because of COVID restrictions, and a growing patient volume are hastening a move from the traditional in-person healthcare encounter to a virtual visit enabled by telemedicine. Although telehealth is a temporary solution to the pandemic, it will continue. Patients become increasingly comfortable with virtual medicine, and providers utilize telemedicine more effectively. Telemedicine can reduce costs, mitigate inefficiencies, and make healthcare more accessible.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is evolving, already transforming healthcare. AI offers greater control of clinical knowledge and expertise. The pandemic sparked many AI applications, such as predicting the risk of being infected by the virus. Now, AI will perform medical image analysis, pattern detection, new clinical discoveries in medical charts, and personalization of medical interventions.
Local Supply Chain
COVID exposed the flaws in hospital supply chains. Health care systems struggled with the shortages and competed for necessary supplies such as PPE. Many health care systems lack analytics on where stores are and how they are getting to them. Some health systems are now collaborating on obtaining equipment and supplies and forming consortiums to reduce reliance on importing.
Drones and Robotics
COVID-19 impacts how consumers work and live with social distancing and working from home. Because of this, expect positive advancements in drones and robotics to reduce the number of interactions between people. Robots will clean floors and facilities to spare workers from exposure to disinfection routines.
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