When the COVID-19 pandemic started showing signs of abatement, healthcare practitioners opened their facilities to non-covid patients. This was after several months of inactivity owing to the mandatory stay-at-home orders and prioritization of coronavirus patients. But things would never be the same again. Long-established healthcare trends had to change and new ones established. Here are six new healthcare trends that resulted from the pandemic response:
This isn’t an entirely new trend in the healthcare industry, but it was significantly accelerated by the pandemic. The country-wide lockdowns left patients with no other option but to communicate with their doctors remotely.
To make the virtual sessions more engaging, the doctor-patient duos use video-conferencing software on their computers or smartphones. This way, they see each other’s faces as they discuss health issues. They can also make gestures to drive important points home.
This trend of remote consultation isn’t likely to fade away anytime soon. Those patients hailing from neighborhoods far removed from healthcare facilities see it as a way of saving traveling costs and time. This is also useful for those clinical visits that don’t require the patient’s presence.
2. Sterile Medications
Medical experts claim that safe injection practices help prevent the transmission of infectious diseases, like COVID-19, from patient to patient. One way to safely administer drugs to patients is through the use of Intravenous (IV) therapy. In this method, medicine is directly infused into the bloodstream through a thin plastic tube. IV medication is usually in liquid form, and it’s prepared at the suppliers’ premises and delivered directly to hospitals in sterile IV bags.
This approach ensures there’s minimal handling of the medication at the hospital. Therefore, the risk of contamination is low. You understand that infected persons can deposit the Sars Cov-2 virus on surfaces, from which they can get transferred into your respiratory tract. Thus, the less the handling of medications within the hospital, the safer it is for patients. To know more about sterile medications and IV bags, learn straight from the source.
3. Digital Healthcare Monitoring
COVID-19 made people a little cautious about their health. Statistics from across the world show that there’s an increased use of digital channels to get critical healthcare information. For instance, the use of smartwatches is at an all-time high. These AI-inspired devices have features like:
- Loud noise detection: Enables you to take the necessary action to prevent hearing damage
- Tracking of the menstrual cycle: If irregular, it may be an indication of health conditions, like infertility, osteoporosis, menopause, or polycystic ovary syndrome
- Fall alerts: If you fall and can’t get up, the smartwatch calls emergency services for help
- Abnormal heart rhythm warning: Irregular heart rhythms can lead to stroke, heart failure, blood clots, and such-like conditions. So, it’s good if you allocate some time to seek medical advice
- Activity tracking: A sedentary lifestyle leads to diseases like diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, and depression. Thus, it’s good to get an alert whenever you’re overly immobile so you can get moving.
On top of wearable devices, more and more people are searching for health-related answers on social media. Not only the ‘dot com’ generation but also the older ones who usually aren’t social-media-savvy. Such digital trends will likely keep increasing. Therefore, it’s in the best interest of medics to tap into such channels.
4. More Openness
The COVID-19 pandemic has been traumatic for nearly everyone across the globe. The mass deaths that gripped different regions caused considerable stress to the patients’ relatives. Meanwhile, others lost their jobs and resorted to borrowing from friends and relatives. Many young ones became orphans as parents died in the millions, too.
It’s as if no one survived through the pandemic unscathed. Thus, most people aren’t afraid to admit that they need help, not only materially, but also psychologically. Furthermore, less stigma accompanies those crying for help. That’s very important for psychological counselors.
When people open up, they’re in a better position to receive sound advice and overcome their predicaments. Before the COVID-19 stroke, many people shied away from sharing their troubles with others. This causes depression and untold inner suffering. Moving forward, it’s envisaged that more people will be more open to receiving help.
5. Increased Calls For Employee Wellbeing
There’s no denying that nearly all healthcare practitioners were overworked during the peak of the pandemic. With hospitals overflowing with patients in critical condition, no health worker could go on holiday. Also, working shifts were longer than usual. Some employees even had to do even more work to cover for colleagues who succumbed to the viral disease.
All these circumstances robbed workers of their right to rest. But now that normalcy is slowly returning, there are increased calls for employee wellbeing and satisfaction in the healthcare industry. Hopefully, doctors and nurses will get longer holidays and better remuneration.
6. Revenue Diversification
As the pandemic raged, governments restricted hospital visits. For instance, services like dental checkups were no longer a priority, compared to the gravity of the Novel Coronavirus. The resulting low patient volumes left many healthcare workers with no revenue-generating scheme.
This state of financial strain lasted dozens of months, but it taught people the need for diversification. Depending on just one income stream is risky. If patient volumes plummet, you have no choice but to wait until the situation stabilizes.
To avoid such inconveniences, those working in the health industry are branching to different disciplines other than their main specialty. You’ll find a dentist opening a chemist or a pediatrician joining forces with a general doctor. This way, they’re in a better position to keep earning when one of their entrepreneurial ventures faces hard times.
The pandemic transformed the healthcare industry in more ways than one. Both the patients and the physicians changed their outlook towards healthcare. The various stakeholders also learned vital lessons from the pandemic.
As a result, they now embrace new generation technological approaches in providing healthcare services. Some are even seeking to make hospital treatments the safest they can, while others are focusing on diversifying their income streams. All in all, everyone hopes that this industry becomes even better.