Since the global outbreak of COVID-19, countries around the world is impacted. Every business/industry felt the tremor of slowness in conjunction with the economic slowdown. However, the pinch of the outbreak has affected the health care sector worst. It has highlighted the criticality of healthcare along with strongness/weakness across various regions. Alongside pains, today is a time of growth for the healthcare industry. While the pandemic appears to be waning, it has posted new challenges in front of the healthcare sector of tackling and adopting the weakness laid down by the crisis. With the need of adapting to the new normal with quickly evolving government regulations, healthcare now needs to walk down a path of technological innovations keeping in mind patient’s expectations.
Challenges in Healthcare
Digitalization of Information with security: With big data advancements, digitalization is welcomed by every industry, but its implementation is not a piece of cake. With the risen usage of health apps, healthcare is one of the sectors with bulky data due to data collection and tracking. The digitalization of this information using AI and big data and present in a user-friendly way to both medical practitioners and individuals is a big task. Moreover, ransomware, data breaches, and cyber-attacks have brought back the demand for careful handling of sensitive data with immediate effect in the spotlight. Recently, reports of spying COVID-19 vaccine research data is been in the highlights. Protecting these devices from hackers will surely a big challenge for the healthcare sector.
HealthCare Data Breaches
Financial Strains: Historically, healthcare is relatively immune to various economic hiccups maintaining a constant flow of cash. However, this time around, there is a significant fall in patients’ visits eating cash reserves of medical companies. Alongside this, due to COVID 19, there is an additional cost of PPE kit involved per bed per day as per new guidelines. This cost occurs with surgeries as well as increasing over-all cost. To cover all these costs and fighting against COVID-19, there is a diversion of funds leaving a little margin for other diseases. Operational changes of various medical treatments also caused financial strains on both administration and patients. With more and more stress on the world economy, the healthcare sector sees a very narrow margin of getting reprieved in the coming 2021.
Infrastructure: With the corona pandemic, it is quite evident that the healthcare sector still needs to overcome the milestone of reaching remote destinations. Though the impact of covid-19 was maximum on cities with higher population density, it has highlighted the need for infrastructure in remote destinations depriving of medical facilities. In conjunction with the need for more hospital/clinics/testing labs, payment models need to be developed for making patient’s journey smooth. It is going to benefit patients by decreasing effective-cost and better service quality. The new proposed model should include incentives like Bundled payments, Disbursements to patient-oriented care providers, Global payments, and Shared savings. However, implementing and adopting it in current old medical systems that are not centralized is very challenging.
Regulations with price transparency: With government spending a lot on healthcare, it adds another layer of complexity for running the business. With frequent changes in rules and regulations, a healthcare organization needs to stay updated with the latest development. Making themselves global will pose a different set of challenges altogether. Alongside that, maintaining price transparency is very difficult because the audience (patient, insurer, provider, or employer) keeps on changing, and that changes the incurring cost. So there is a need to maintain price transparency between these groups keeping in mind various factors like economic viability, effectiveness, outcomes, and toxicity. Bringing price transparency will surely benefit everybody bringing the cost down.
Data Management: Data is the new oil for healthcare systems that are scattered across multiple parties like payers, providers, and patients. For a better and seamless customer experience, data centralization is must act as a single source of truth. Due to decentralization, the majority of medical practices rely on customer’s self-reporting data. With a technological shift towards mhealth, data generation and healthcare analytics solutions will rise exponentially producing more and more details about the patient’s health. To use this data to embrace data-driven decision making, organizations need to harness the power of big data and its capabilities with infrastructure that can store, retrieve, process, and analyze data. Telehealth is another digital health bubble producing a lot of data that is under-utilized. Keeping in mind the current infrastructure and decentralized data, organizations around the world need to cross this barrier to innovate health solutions which can gather and utilize data to generate data-driven operations.
While the health industry faces numerous challenges ahead, this pandemic has accelerated a few positive trends showing healthcare’s bright future ahead. With a manifold growth in teleconsultations, online medicine orders, home testing, and home care, healthcare 2021 looks to be in a sweet spot in the post-coronavirus world despite a challenging road ahead. With more focus on self-care and preventive measures, billions of people around the world look to benefit the most from the business framework to support the new system post- coronavirus.