The COVID-19 era: A new learning curve for global healthcare
If the healthcare industry were a patient, 2020 has been a dramatic rush of ICU visits and checkups so far, all because of a pandemic that has shaken the entire world.
The Novel Coronavirus that caused the COVID-19 disease unleashed a catastrophe of unprecedented proportions. Healthcare has borne the impact of COVID-19 more than most other industries.
Three key phases of the healthcare industry
The pastThe healthcare domain was ill-prepared to tackle a public health emergency at this scale. The existing state of affairs meant that many industry practices were not robust enough in terms of policies, infrastructure, risk management, sourcing, procurement, or supply chain management.
The lack of acknowledgment of how global health risks can affect business made the industry further vulnerable. China, the epicenter of the global healthcare supply chain, medical equipment and drug manufacturing, was also the infectious virus’s place of origin. This made for a bad combination and led to the disruption of a crucial supply chain equilibrium.
The presentHealthcare segments across nations are struggling to cope with the massive imbalance in supply and demand, among other SCM challenges. Global medical supply chains are in a weak state, given manufacturing plant shutdowns that have led to a shortage of drugs, testing kits, and other essential items. Pharmaceutical companies are trying to make peace with this new reality and are looking for solutions that mitigate and eventually prevent recurrences of the COVID-19 outbreak. Governments, hospitals, investors, pharma companies, and related businesses are all working toward fast-tracking clinical trials.
The futureAs healthcare spend for COVID-19 increases exponentially, companies that conduct research, produce test kits, develop potential vaccines, and manufacture or supply medical equipment are likely to benefit the most. The reason is clear - governments across the world will invest in not only damage control, but also in the prevention of any potential resurgence of the pandemic. This also means that companies other than those manufacturing PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) or infrastructure support that is not directly connected to COVID-19 would face disruptions in business.
Innovative thinking and preemptive measures will become the norm in healthcare. Here’s a look at the implications of COVID-19 in the healthcare industry.
Implications of COVID-19 in the healthcare industry-
- Short-term implicationsThe next three to six months will be extremely crucial for the effective management of the pandemic across geographies. The pressure on hospital infrastructure is going to be huge, in spite of entering what is the fourth month since the virus first made the headlines.
Non-urgent surgeries will decline, and along with it, the demand for related treatment and equipment will drop. Businesses can expect challenges like payment delays due to the lack of liquidity and inconsistencies in the demand-supply ratio.
- Medium-term implicationsIncreased investments in primary care and intensive care are perhaps the only silver lining in these dark times. For public payers and healthcare providers, the financing pressure is going to be more than ever before. Private payers in certain locations might be looking at solvency problems and related issues.
However, things will get back on track in terms of the return of on-ground sales reps and teams to hospitals as the outbreak flattens out in the next six to twelve months.
- Long-term implicationsGovernments and organizations need to reprioritize long-term healthcare plans at a macro level. The post-COVID-19 era will see healthcare adopt relatively new concepts like telehealth, remote care, and other types of digital healthcare solutions.
It’s likely that we will see a seismic wave of groundbreaking digital solutions for enhanced patient care in the near future. The focus for healthcare businesses, a year after COVID-19, will also need to be on reassessing pricing models and looking for alternative options (value-based pricing, for instance).
Keeping healthcare productive and healthy with Infosys BPM
We understand the vulnerabilities in medical supply chains and believe that flexible digital technologies and services can drive value for healthcare companies in the COVID-19 era and beyond.
Our end-to-end healthcare services and integrated IT-BPM solutions have a track record of an annual processing of 6 million claims and 30+ million health plan memberships. Our teams continue to ensure dedicated support for healthcare companies during these difficult times.
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