Healthcare industries must prepare for the “new norm” in the coming year with the COVID-19 pandemic still active, and vaccines becoming available. Let’s look at the trends that will be taking place and the impacts of the pandemic that will alter the future of healthcare, both short-term and long-term. Healthcare organizations will need to adjust and become proactive to thrive in the new year.
Technology Changes That Will Continue to Expand
Telemedicine became the norm over the past year due to the pandemic, and that is unlikely to change anytime soon. Most patients believe that visiting any healthcare facility is risky because of the pandemic. Virtual care will be the standard and preferred model in the upcoming year and beyond. Hospitals will use virtual care as the preferred triage method. Virtual care and remote patient monitoring will continue to drive down costs while improving access to care for everyone.
Rethink Any Expansion Plans
Organizations may want to rethink before planning any physical footprint expansions in the new year. With virtual care dominating the care model the immediate need for additional physical facilities may decline. Instead, spend expansion efforts on improving infrastructure and security to meet virtual care needs. Plans should also be put into place to expand on testing capacity, vaccination disbursements, ensuring supplies, and other COVID-19 needs.
Healthcare providers must become proactive in addressing physician burnout and clinical staffing shortages. Focus on implementing technology solutions to reduce workload on clinicians through improved efficiency and improved job satisfaction. Solicit input from your physicians and clinical staff to foster a collaborative and positive work environment.
Address Security Risks
Information security risks will be one of the largest priorities for 2021. Personal health information is worth 25 times more than credit card information on the black market. This puts health organizations at extreme risk of security breaches. Protect your brand reputation by investing in ensuring your patients’ information security.
Prepare for Mental Health Service Needs
The coronavirus pandemic is driving America into a mental health crisis. According to the CDC, about 40% of adults report struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues since the pandemic. Health organizations will have to modify their services to deal with this fast-growing need. Anxiety over the virus threat, economic factors, and potential job loss are impacting most Americans. Add social distancing impacts to the mix and you have a powder keg. Those organizations that offer mental health services may want to consider technology applications, and those who don’t offer mental health provisions may consider this expanded service.
Reach Out to Patients
Healthcare organizations will need to become proactive and communicate with their patients. Many people are avoiding medical care due to coronavirus fears. Procedures have been postponed, including emergency procedures, and many patients will not reach out on their own. Reach out to all your patients and touch base with them to ensure their medical needs are being met. Offer telehealth services and video chats to address their fears.
One of the most important items that will need to be addressed in every healthcare organizations 2021 plan will be preparing for the upcoming vaccines. Addressing all the organizational protocols needed for implementing the vaccine and ensuring supplies will only be a part of the process. Organizations will also need to implement a plan of communicating with their patients to encourage and convince them of the need for receiving the vaccine. The fears that have been generated through social media are growing, and healthcare organizations will be challenged to convince their patients of the safety of the vaccine.
Enter 2012 with a strong plan in place for promoting safety protocols for staff and patients while expanding and securing your virtual services. Genesis Medical Management wishes everyone a prosperous and safe new year.
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