Navigating Healthcare Since COVID-19
By The Altus Team
Published Mar 12, 2021
| Updated Jun 13, 2022
| 5 min read
Like many things, the landscape of healthcare has been permanently shaped by the effects of COVID-19. There has been a significant shift in consumer behavior and how individuals interact with healthcare providers. Below, we take a look at a few ways the healthcare system has transformed in the past year and what the future may look like.
There is no doubt the pandemic fueled substantial and rapid growth in telehealth. COVID-19 pushed providers and health systems to quickly adopt new processes and software to accommodate the trend. The ability to offer virtual visits, through tablet carts, generates more value than simply being convenient. Telehealth allows healthcare workers to be safe while still offering the same level of care as they did before. It allows patients to receive care at home while saving money from not having to travel, and a quicker visit. The 2020 State of Telemedicine Report by Doximity, estimates that 20% of medical visits in the U.S. were completed virtually in 2020, amounting to $29.3 billion. This report also projects that by 2023 up to $106 billion will be attributed to telemedicine services.
The telemedicine report also looked at the perspective of patients, finding that 28% of Americans feel telemedicine care is the same or better than in-person visits. This statistic increases to 53% when they asked patients with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or arthritis.
In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth technology has proven to be a valuable tool for patient appointments and is now being used to boost patient morale. The need for a virtual solution to allow patients to interact with friends and family became evident when hospitals had to enact strict visitation policies. The development of virtual visitor carts has brought technology to the bedside with video visits via tablet carts.
Telemedicine’s ability to fill in gaps by providing comfortable & convenient care will continue to fuel its growth now and into the post-pandemic future.
Delay in Care
A particularly alarming trend is the frequency at which individuals are choosing to delay care or are simply unable to access the care they need. In 2020 there was a decline in annual wellness checks, screenings, and the scheduling of elective procedures. These missed appointments lead to a decline in preventative care and lead to patients ignoring symptoms until it becomes urgent. Once patients come in for urgent care rather than preventative care, it puts an added burden on the healthcare system. It leads to longer emergency room waits, nurse burnout as they work in increasingly stressful situations, and more complicated treatment paths.
The delay in elective procedures presents its own set of difficulties. These types of procedures are scheduled in advance allowing hospitals to plan ahead and make sure they have sufficient staff on hand. Putting off preventative care further exacerbates potential health complications patients experience such as declining quality of life, pain, and the time to get procedures done.
While 90-95% of elective procedures have resumed, there is now a looming backlog of critical procedures and a skyrocketing number of individuals who have lost their health insurance. These factors will continue to place an unmeasurable strain on the healthcare system now and into the future.
When COVID-19 swept in, businesses closed, people feared leaving their homes, and patients began to delay preventative care. When patients did this, they weren’t ignoring their health altogether. They began to shift their focus over to personal health. This includes investing in equipment for physical activity, learning about immune-boosting nutrition, and overall listening to their bodies.
As patients take more control over their personal wellness, they have begun to experience more of a desire to protect their own health rather than suffering through a workday. This has also resulted in patients searching out more information on physical wellness, causing a major uptick in the industry.
The more interest the public has in personal wellness, causes them to ask more questions about their health and how to best take care of their bodies. This allows nurses to offer more detailed care, and offer more education to their patients. Conversations will deepen and focus on what patients can do themselves.
As the healthcare landscape continues to shift in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential for nurses to accept the changes. The more willing they are to change processes, the patient and provider experience will improve. Change is inevitable, and with COVID-19 the changes will continue to happen.
Making the acceptance of change can be made easier by implementing the right equipment. From telehealth devices to emergency room computer carts, Altus has a workstation for every workflow. Contact us today to see how our computer workstations can help you navigate healthcare workflows.