What Healthcare Could Look Like in a Post-Corona World
Have you had enough of coronavirus and all its implications? Most of us have. Unfortunately, not even the perceived end of the worldwide pandemic will put coronavirus to bed completely. We are going to continue experiencing its lingering effects for years to come – particularly in the healthcare delivery arena.
Healthcare delivery is where the healthcare industry and the consumers it serves intersect. For good or bad, the coronavirus crisis has placed itself squarely at that intersection. Pandemic fears have changed the way healthcare services are delivered. They have changed the way consumers view service delivery. All of the changes we have seen thus far will only lead to more changes down the road.
Frost & Sullivan, an international consulting firm that specializes in business growth strategies, recently published a press release discussing an upcoming webinar for business professionals interested in global healthcare predictions for 2021. If their experts are correct, healthcare will look different in 2021 on many different fronts.
1. Consumer-Centric Delivery
Healthcare delivery has not historically been focused on consumers. Hospitals, clinics, and primary care offices have established the rules for delivery and imposed those rules on consumers. Coronavirus has changed all that. Consumers are now in control. Under this new paradigm, it is expected that healthcare delivery will become more consumer-centric by necessity.
Healthcare providers are already turning the page on old business models in favor of treating patients like customers. They are starting to develop strategies whereby they actually compete for customers rather than viewing them as a captive audience with no viable choices.
2. Wellness-Oriented Delivery
Coronavirus has taught us all that wellness is invaluable. We have come to the collective conclusion that preventing disease is far more appetizing than treating it after the fact. Thus, the general willingness to maintain physical distancing and mask wearing. How will this translate to healthcare delivery for 2021? By making delivery more oriented toward overall wellness.
Expect to see healthcare providers putting even more resources into preventative care. Look for health insurance companies and benefits administrators to do the same. By putting a greater emphasis on overall wellness, they hope to limit any increase in healthcare costs created by the current coronavirus crisis.
3. More Virtual and Innovative
The most profound changes we should see in the post-Corona world have to do with how healthcare services are actually delivered. We are now on the cusp of a brave new virtual world, the likes of which we have only imagined in the past. Telemedicine and artificial intelligence (AI) will be the building blocks of a new delivery model.
Coronavirus has forced us to accept that telemedicine does work. Even now, it is getting harder to find a hospital or primary care office that doesn’t offer virtual visits. Dallas-based BenefitMall says virtual care is being further supplemented by mobile apps, social media, video chat, and more. Meanwhile, artificial intelligence is waiting in the wings.
Expect healthcare providers to employ artificial intelligence for a variety of purposes. They will use it to predict who will get sick, who will need certain types of treatments, and so on. Expect health insurance providers to use AI to develop all sorts of models for predicting losses, setting rates, and determining coverage options.
Coronavirus has done more than infect people with a respiratory illness. It has started the ball rolling on what could be the most widespread and systemic changes the healthcare industry has seen in this country in a century. Needless to say that healthcare delivery in the post-corona era will look a lot different than it looks today.