Throughout history, periods of innovation and transition are often born from hardships. For example, industries from manufacturing to healthcare flourished in the 1920s after World War 1 and the 1918 flu epidemic. As we approach first anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, we find a similar landscape: a need to reinvigorate the economy and our overall healthcare system.
It’s an interesting and exciting time to work in healthcare. Despite the challenges raised by COVID-19, doctors and researchers are innovating at record speeds. It’s a field that requires constant iteration and innovation to address the world’s most critical challenges. Particularly in the wake of the pandemic.
“Despite the challenges raised by COVID-19, doctors and researchers are innovating at record speeds. It’s a field that requires constant iteration and innovation to address the world’s most critical challenges.”
Over the last few months, we’ve seen healthcare systems and businesses respond reactively to problems and public concerns. But what happens when the pandemic is in our rear-view mirror and we begin to heal and move forward? After attending Boston Business Journal’s Future of Health Care event, we have a pretty good idea of where the industry is heading and what to keep an eye on as we support our clients in the space.
Across systems, telehealth use skyrocketed during the pandemic. While we will eventually find the right balance of in-person and virtual care, telehealth is now an integrated and critical component to comprehensive care.
One of the earliest concerns raised focused on how to replace the personal and high-touch support a patient receives in hospitals. For example, when patients receive a life-threatening diagnosis, medical professionals are trained to provide both physical and emotional support. However, telehealth is increasingly proving as it has the same capabilities.
While we have determined that telehealth works, now it’s time for the technology to catch up. As we expand programs, we need to improve the tech to make sessions more accessible and seamless. Remote care will be part of this, which includes remote diagnosis or even using a stethoscope at home. There is so much more that it can do, we just have to unlock it.
The silver lining in the vaccine effort and roll out is how the health systems are working together. It is truly a prime example of where crisis and mission come together for the greater good. With all the systems in the trenches together, collaboration comes first – even among competitors.
“The silver lining in the vaccine effort and roll out is how the health systems are working together. It is truly a prime example of where crisis and mission come together for the greater good.”
It’s clear that we are seeing healthcare systems evolving, accelerating and improving. For example, there is a misperception that all care is done within the walls of a large medical hospital; however, it’s more common and frequent that care is given elsewhere in local settings. As you might imagine, these different settings can result in varying degrees of quality care.
It became apparent very quickly during the pandemic that not all communities have the same access to healthcare. This is why satellite locations are becoming more prevalent and will continue to expand. These community locations are able to share knowledge and collaborate with the larger systems, meaning more remote communities won’t go without.
The behavioral health needs of the population have been in crisis for a long time. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted those needs and exacerbated the problem, which will leave behind a behavioral health toll that will stay with us for years to come.
“The behavioral health needs of the population have been in crisis for a long time. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted those needs and exacerbated the problem, which will leave behind a behavioral health toll that will stay with us for years to come.”
It all stems back to access. While telehealth has improved this, convenience is just a small part. Some behavioral health patients are unable to physically go to a care setting, and so telehealth has improved patient care and retention, but regulations and limited professionals equipped to handle such cases are causing increased strain on the system.
What’s ultimately needed is for healthcare systems to embed behavioral care services into primary care visits and to address the regulations that limit behavioral health professionals from caring for patients in other states.
The pandemic demonstrated the need to support and reinforce fundamental basic science. COVID-19 isn’t going to be the last virus that we face, and we need to come together to develop therapies quickly. This means vouching for additional support, funding and innovation in the areas that will protect our community against global threats in the future.
Again, it’s an exciting time to work in healthcare, no matter what sector or region you live in. The pandemic brought turmoil, destruction and devastation to communities across the world, and it’s unclear how we can pick up all the pieces. What we can do, though, is continue to innovate and develop tools, systems and technology that bring support and quality care for years to come.
See how we’re helping client GYANT do just that.
For PR and marketing professionals in the space, we are the gatekeepers of our clients’ solutions that address consumer, industry and business needs.
Understanding where the market is headed is critical to not only our success, but the success of our clients to amplify their core messages within the audiences they will resonate most, therefore driving awareness, stakeholder buy-in, investments and sales. Without this – as healthcare remains a saturated market – vital solutions can be lost in the shuffle, not only impacting the future of our business but the quality of care.