4 Ways COVID-19 Impacts Healthcare Organizations (And What We Can Do About It)
In this article, discover four examples of how COVID-19 impacts healthcare organizations.
Moreover, see the effects of COVID-19 for
- the clinical decision-making process;
- the improvement of team efficiency through new processes;
- reducing the burden on nursing staff.
Impact #1: From Dealing With a Pandemic to Accelerating Healthcare Digitization
We find ourselves in a time of major economic, social, and scientific uncertainty.
It is becoming increasingly clear that the COVID-19 pandemic, while being enormously disruptive and painful, will last longer than we had hoped for and will be decisively more impactful than we could ever have anticipated.
In addition to the significant changes that are now reshaping the new “normality” of our daily lives at a macro level, the pandemic already had far-reaching consequences that ultimately set into motion important transformative events at the heart of the healthcare sector.
For instance, there are now:
- more virtual visits and diagnoses;
- higher usage of portable equipment;
- increased demand for flexible data solutions by performance teams.
“Organizations that choose to reinvent their service infrastructure will most likely be the ones to also dictate the future of healthcare.”
Moving forward in the post-COVID-19 era, care organizations that choose to reinvent their service infrastructure will most likely be the ones to also dictate the future of healthcare.
A Tough Challenge
We must also keep in mind the surgery backlog that will take months to be resolved amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Faced with new constraints affecting care delivery and a constant influx of critical patients, many facilities found themselves ill-prepared to respond efficiently to the challenges at hand and were quickly confronted with shortages of critical resources and unforeseen operational bottlenecks.
Fortunately, thanks to the resourcefulness and ingenuity of healthcare professionals and their “do it yourself” solutions, many care institutions quickly overcame these difficult situations and were able to provide seamless access to medical services.
Just like us, multiple healthcare technology companies also participated in this race against time and demonstrated speed and agility by creating new and adapted solutions.
Takeaway: COVID-19 was the catalyst for many quick and long-lasting changes. It also clearly highlighted the importance of being fast and flexible.
Impact #2: New Social Norms and New Technologies
With the first wave of COVID-19, many facilities had to reorganize by setting up efficient screening in points of care and the enforcement of better public health protocols.
Despite that, it’s only the beginning of a tremendous period of change in the healthcare sector. Organizations are now massively transitioning from conventional operational infrastructures towards outcome-based digital ecosystems.
What is driving this transition?
It’s mostly our newly-formed habits like:
- social distancing;
- having a higher awareness of personal and public hygiene measures;
- washing our hands frequently and using disinfectants;
- cleaning and disinfecting surfaces, tools, etc.;
- wearing facemasks;
- using digital tools more often;
- being online more often;
- working remotely.
In sum, this compels us to rely more on technology for communications and ultimately for making decisions.
Those habits will probably stay long after mandatory lockdowns and restrictions are lifted. They will undoubtedly become a significant driving force that motivates healthcare facilities to deploy performance-based technology solutions across their service architecture.
With the right tools and the right data, facilities will be better equipped to respond to and recover from social and economic challenges similar to those experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In fact, many healthcare providers even reached out to us to see if we had adaptive, cloud-based analytics solutions for accessing their data securely, whether on mobile or desktop.
Takeaway: COVID-19 brought in new social and personal hygienic norms. New technologies have become necessities in the healthcare world (cloud computing, mobility, telehealth, etc.).
Impact #3: Better Preparedness for the Next Crisis
Major health crises can occur at any time.
In fact, at the time of writing, the second wave of COVID-19 is actually starting in many countries around the world.
Despite that, it is unclear whether facilities will decide to prioritize or not the digitization of conventional service infrastructures.
Facilities which recently operated close to their limits are now focused on consolidating their assets and would understandably think twice before allocating already stretched resources towards new technology-based initiatives.
Fortunately, optimization and consolidation of service infrastructures in the healthcare sector can be done collaboratively and, more importantly, simultaneously.
“When the digitization of healthcare processes is properly executed, it represents an investment that is measurable and ROI-focused.”
When the digitization of healthcare processes is properly executed, it represents an investment that is measurable and ROI-focused. Moreover, the right digitization helps organizations with the necessary. security measures to prevent exploitation and stay ahead of potential security attacks.
This is where our team at Continuum Health can intervene. With our ContinuumCore data warehouse and our Intellium cloud-based dashboarding platform, we help hospitals organize, optimize and ultimately access their data safely.
By optimizing space, resources, and processes through the digitization of their current service architecture, hospitals can become increasingly more responsive and enjoy a secure data environment. This gives them a better foothold to provide employees and patients with services geared towards value and driven by outcomes.
Takeaway: The digitization of hospitals is not only feasible but also crucial if hospitals want to better cope with future unforeseeable events like COVID-19.
Impact #4: Decentralization and the Shift to Points of Care
The year 2020 was—and still is—a major turning point in the decentralization of healthcare services.
Indeed, we witnessed for the first time people interacting successfully with virtual, decentralized healthcare systems. Healthcare facilities are relying increasingly on such technologies to maintain social connections with patients and deliver much-needed medical services.
“What was the decade-old, in-office, doctor-led approach has been forever transformed in favour of an agile, more responsive, data-driven healthcare delivery model.”
In the span of only a few months, what was the decade-old, in-office, doctor-led approach has been forever transformed in favour of an agile, more responsive, data-driven healthcare delivery model.
A good example is the rapid adoption of telehealth solutions. Due mainly to COVID-19, it was one of the tipping points that prompted other technology products to go mainstream and contribute to the ongoing decentralization and digitization of patient care.
Many digital solutions are now a central part of healthcare facilities’ strategies to improve care journeys and patient outcomes. For example, it is now common to see:
- digital stethoscopes;
- digital otoscopes;
- portable EKG monitors;
- blood glucose monitors.
These advancements are now fuelling the customization of point-of-care services while enabling broader, decentralized access to cost-effective care.
The different technologies driving the current shift at points of care allow for:
- rapid clinical decision-making;
- more effective management of patients’ conditions;
- a great reduction of caregivers’ workloads.
As modernization of the entire healthcare value chain gradually takes effect, patients will gain more autonomy and the ability to manage their information safely and privately directly into health systems.
On the other hand, healthcare professionals will gradually see their practice shift from a time-consuming, paper-based environment bound by manual processes, in favour of integrated digital ecosystems that offer seamless interactions with relevant clinical information.
New digital capabilities, along with the appropriate strategies that support their integration within care settings, will soon provide care teams the autonomy they require to deliver outcome-based services and patient-centric care on a much larger scale.
Takeaway: Newer, faster and decentralized technologies are replacing old, centralized and heavy processes.
Conclusion: The Future of Healthcare Amid COVID-19
Hospitals and healthcare facilities can confidently rely on modern technology solutions to accomplish the strategic changes required to modernize their operating structure and optimize their service channels.
“In the post-COVID-19 world, healthcare facilities will rely increasingly on virtual interactions between patients, clinical teams, and employees to deliver care effectively.”
In the post-COVID-19 world, healthcare facilities will rely increasingly on virtual interactions between patients, clinical teams, and employees to deliver care effectively.
Facilities that until recently had no clear incentive to implement point-of-care technologies and virtual workplace models, now have the necessary perspective to justify using digitally-driven solutions to communicate, work, and deliver their products and services efficiently.
To compete in the future healthcare marketplace, hospitals and care facilities will have to implement technologies that ensure safe work environments and streamline healthcare delivery.
In the end, all of us will benefit from this technological change.
Customized Solutions by Continuum Health
Continuum Health is a leader in healthcare analytics and has over a decade of experience in the accompaniment of facilities and care organizations focused on achieving successful digital transformations.
Beyond their portfolio of technology solutions focused on performance and results, Continuum helps clients and partners optimize their operating framework, increase their analytical capabilities and build the necessary digital foundations to better prepare for unforeseeable events like COVID‑19.
The Continuum Health team is proud to work in close collaboration with health systems operators and decision-makers to understand their digital ‘reality,’ as well as offering them personalized technology solutions geared towards efficiency, ROI and performance.