Essentially every industry – not to mention every individual – across the country has been affected by the coronavirus. However, it can be argued that none has been affected more so than the healthcare industry. Because of the devastating effects over recent months, it is likely that this industry will be forever changed. In this article, we will take a look at some of the ways that healthcare has already been impacted, and what it could mean for the future.
Telemedicine will continue to gain traction
Over the past few months, there has been a major drop off in the number of in-person doctor visits. In large part, this was due to a concern about getting sick. Instead, people have been opting for telehealth visits. In fact, some offices have reported up to a 500% increase in telehealth visits. In addition to saving time and eliminating the risk of exposure, these visits also have lower costs associated.
To deal with a decrease in money coming in, Medicare and some commercial health plans have begun to offer advances for medical providers. Redesigning the system where doctors are paid for each individual service that they provide has been discussed over the past few years, but this conversation is now gaining more traction.
Remote patient monitoring for ongoing care
Many organizations are starting to consider how individuals can use telehealth to receive more streamlined, ongoing care that can help them stay healthy over time, as opposed to just coming in to see the doctor when they are actually ill. While these conversations are only beginning, it is safe to say that our relationship with healthcare will be changed; instead of an annual checkup, we may have more of a continuous – albeit remote – ongoing relationship with our doctor.
Cybersecurity will plan a greater role
Many would argue that it is only a matter of time before cybercriminals begin to take advantage of the vulnerable healthcare system. In fact, many agencies – including the World Health Organization – have recently been targeted. Particularly if healthcare services start to operate more on the virtual field, security will need to be an ongoing conversation to ensure patient privacy.
The future of healthcare is uncertain – like everything else
There was a period last year where many experts where saying that the country had too many hospitals, or those individual establishments had too many beds for patients. However, in the wake of the coronavirus – where hundreds of thousands around the globe have died – this is probably not an argument that we are likely to hear in the future.
That said, the coronavirus has renewed the argument for telehealth. Not only can this help save time and keep us safe, but it also can keep costs down. Of course, a new system probably will not be designed until we have overcome the virus, which is still affecting communities worldwide.