Healthcare is expected to undergo dramatic changes in the post-pandemic era. The pandemic has caught the healthcare industry with all its vulnerabilities and fissures in its structure and service delivery. With a sudden attack of an infection engulfing the entire world without discriminating between rich and poor, healthcare has struggled under the pressure of heightened demand for patient care services. Therefore, it is imperative to make changes to avoid such issues and prepare healthcare for any emergencies in the future.
The covid-19 engulfed the lives of more than 140,000 people in the United States only. The total number of the loss of precious human lives around the globe is another horror story. If the healthcare system chooses to remain a dinosaur, it can forget about coping with a pandemic of such as scale.
However, is healthcare ready to make the necessary transition to a more modern and prepared service delivery system? If so, here are ways by which the healthcare industry can improve in the post-pandemic period.
Insisting On Recruiting Highly Skilled Personnel
The first challenge that healthcare has faced is the shortage of skilled personnel in all of its departments. Whether it is the number of nurses needed to take care of the patients with positive symptoms of the virus, the doctors attending the patients, or the management staff administering the daily operations of the healthcare, there has been a scarcity across the board.
Healthcare has seen the need for people who can work in multiple capacities and adopt both administrative and medical roles of a unit. In the future, hospitals may have to recruit more people with administrative degrees such as executive masters in healthcare administration who can work in the evolving and innovating healthcare system of the post-pandemic era.
Drastic Changes In The Healthcare Infrastructure
The pandemic has exposed the fragilities of the healthcare systems and insufficiencies of its infrastructure across the globe. Starting from the pandemic through the post-pandemic era, healthcare has to bring revolutionary changes in its infrastructure. The changes include making new facilities to accommodate patients confronted with diseases similar to what we saw during the pandemic. Additionally, healthcare management must think of developing standby units to take care of an accidental influx of people of the number seen during the pandemic.
The shortage of isolation centers has triggered the need to think about medical units where patients’ clinical exposure can be limited. At the same time, large emergency triage requirements can be met too.
Making Public Health Part Of The School Curriculum
It is not only the duty of the medical students to know about the importance of public health and the spread of infectious diseases. Every student belonging to any school and faculty should be aware of these issues in keeping healthy so that they can be ready to participate in the national drive of containing the disease when such a pandemic happens.
The world might need to see public health as a basic course in the school curriculum. Medical schools also have to learn from what worked and what went wrong.
Introduce Strict Cleanliness Infection Control Measure
Hospital is where people come to cure their diseases. But often, it becomes a breeding ground for new diseases. It happens because of compromised cleanliness and infection control protocols in a medical facility. In the post-pandemic era, the cleanliness of the hospitals and patient care units need to be a priority. The placement of strict infection control mechanisms is already introduced in the countries such as China, Spain, and the US.
There might be systems in place to prioritize more severe and urgent patients in a hospital to keep the facilities clean. However, dealing with elective cases in such a way will also challenge the hospital staff in the post-pandemic new reality. This might impact the cash flows and business side of healthcare too.
Build Resilience In The System And Population
To prepare for the after-pandemic scenario or any new such calamities in the future, hospitals and the entire population need to be resilient. The process of resilience does not happen overnight. Instead, it starts with recognizing the weak spots and then collectively working on improving them. Existing hospitals have to work on optimizing their functions and site capacities to prepare for future outbreaks that seem quite possible with the surfacing of new variants every other day. This earth has become a hot spot where infections that were in deep slumber are rejuvenating again.
It is a great time to leverage innovation and new technologies to improve healthcare operations. The need is to prepare the people at all tiers of the society with no discrimination of class and standing. The only way that healthcare can do so is by leveraging technology and reach the most vulnerable strata of the population, ensuring that they have the basic health facilities available to them. Resilience also involves in-placing agile disaster response plans to cater to changing needs of patients and the surge in their numbers, fulfill the need for emergency resources, staff education, and infrastructural readiness.
Higher Interest In Telehealth
Prior to the pandemic, there was not much interest shown by the healthcare system to seriously invest in developing the Telehealth system. However, post-pandemic, this niche business can help cater to low-acuity urgent care. Due to social distancing protocols in place, patients are expected to depend more on telehealth in the future. The system is going to expand as fear of going to the doctor for an in-person is still prevalent.
Healthcare needs to capitalize on this opportunity to maintain their balance sheets and offer prompt emergency care service to those in need. The demand for telehealth is also expected to fuel innovation in this area to make this service better. The innovations may include the inculcation of biometric data, improved coordination among primary care doctors, and the electronic connectivity of healthcare records.
The post-pandemic era is expected to be quite different for healthcare providers as well as patients. The integration of more technological applications, development, expansion of soft and physical infrastructure, and improved resilience can improve the healthcare industry in the post-pandemic era. Today’s healthcare system needs a skilled workforce who can work at different levels and wear various hats in the state of emergency.