The World Health Organization officially characterized COVID-19 as a pandemic on 11 March 2020, and healthcare hasn’t been the same ever since. Hospitals are caring for more patients than before and until recently, pharmaceutical companies raced to see who would be the first to develop a vaccine.
Let’s take a look at how the pandemic has changed how we view the healthcare system.
Healthcare Before the Pandemic
Before the coronavirus pandemic, the overall readiness of our healthcare systems was incredibly lacking. Public health surveillance programs and available infrastructures weren’t constantly optimal, and healthcare systems were rarely able to manage the high workload they had to deal with.
Even though there were other international viral outbreaks in the past few decades, healthcare systems weren’t prepared for an intense surge in demand and new healthcare challenges that COVID-19 brought.
All of this brings the question of how the pandemic has changed how we view healthcare workers and the overall healthcare system. The good news is that healthcare adapted and used this pandemic as a transformation catalyst, which brought upon some highly needed changes and improvements.
Changes that Occurred in Healthcare During the Pandemic
Even though it took some time for the pandemic to drastically change healthcare, it adapted and we can now clearly see how the pandemic changed healthcare.
So, how has the pandemic changed healthcare? Here are some of the obvious ways:
- How doctors care for patients. Since the dawn of medicine, doctors have always provided treatment to their patients face-to-face. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, healthcare providers took advantage of modern technologies and started using technology to implement telehealth and treat patients remotely.
- Finances for medical institutions. Since all elective surgeries got canceled or severely postponed, most healthcare institutions lost their primary stream of income. According to a study conducted by the American Hospital Association, hospitals could face a $53 billion total revenue loss in 2021.
- Improvements for the supply chain. This pandemic proved that almost all hospitals in the world had issues in their supply chain and didn’t have enough personal protection equipment (PPE). Because of this, hospitals started using multiple vendors to ensure they always have more than enough supplies.
- Staffing shortages. Many healthcare professionals have been exposed to excessive burnout and illness or in some cases death due to exposure to the virus. All of this has led to massive staffing shortages in hospitals, which is one of the negative aspects of how the pandemic changed healthcare.
How Healthcare Has Changed Forever After the Pandemic
The impact of COVID-19 on the global healthcare industry is great and there is no denying the pandemic has changed global healthcare forever.
- First of all, healthcare professionals learn to set aspirations that are bold but still plausible. The first aspiration was flattening the curve and that single aspiration changed how we lived our everyday lives, went to work, socialized, and much more.
- The pandemic has also changed how organizations see what their patients want and need. New tools are constantly emerging with the sole purpose to collect people’s comments about health, family, and finances. This technology will allow healthcare professionals to gain a deeper understanding of their patients’ needs.
- COVID-19 has also caused healthcare leaders to take a closer look at all of their business models and see which ones will face challenges and which ones are resilient. All of the economic, operational, and societal ramifications of the pandemic have caused great shits in value pools.
- One of the most important ways how the pandemic has changed the world is that it brought upon our need to rapidly scale and accelerate medical innovations. However, healthcare professionals never put this need to move quickly ahead of their patients’ safety and quality of care.
For example, let’s take a look at the development of the several COVID-19 vaccines which are currently used in the process of immunizing people globally. Even though the development and approval were accelerated, the manufacturers still put patients’ health first and made sure to perform all the necessary trials.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated innovation trends in multiple sectors and healthcare is at the top of the list of those innovations. The biggest benefit is that the pandemic has taught leaders how to balance their long-term visions with short-term needs and emerge with a healthcare system that’s more efficient, effective, and equitable.
Even though COVID-19 is a big crisis, one of the biggest ways how the pandemic changed healthcare is that it brought about new highs of achievements the healthcare industry desperately needed.
So, how has COVID changed healthcare?
It showed us that the healthcare system can be fragile if it’s not properly maintained. However, it’s not just up to the healthcare professionals to maintain it. It’s also the duty of ordinary people to support the healthcare system and accept the new changes that the pandemic brought.