The pandemic has acted as a catalyst for significant and rapid changes in how healthcare services are delivered. There have been many service shifts needed to adapt to life in a pandemic, however some of the most widespread include:
The benefits of shifting towards community based and digitalised care have been realised during the pandemic. Furthermore, the infrastructure to support these service shifts is now better implemented than prior to the pandemic .
Staff exposure, illness, mental health struggles and burnout have created more pressure on already stretched and understaffed workforces during the pandemic. Most health systems were vastly unprepared for the staffing needs that arose during the pandemic.
For example, the NHS reported a shortage of 84,000 staff . Hospitals in many US states including Florida and Oregon announced critical staff shortages during the pandemic. Crisis capacity strategies need to be employed in order to mitigate future staffing shortages during a crisis.
The pressures and stresses on health systems over the last year(s) have taken their toll on the wellbeing of staff. Following the pandemic, improved support programs for staff wellbeing should be implemented to not only improve staff retention and satisfaction, but also support better patient care.
Beyond the immediate Covid-19 impact on healthcare, the pandemic has caused devastating damage to healthcare system and government finances. The pandemic has caused many financial challenges which can be broadly summarised as:
The negative impacts of these financial challenges are likely to persist over the coming years and have forced healthcare leaders into aggressively managing their budgets alongside their current payer service contracts/ relationships.
Service providers will have to continue to collaborate with healthcare systems and governments to ensure low-cost high-quality care whilst navigating a new financial landscape.
The pandemic has caused major disruption and strain on worldwide healthcare supply chains. Many items, including personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators, sanitising supplies, testing kits and other hospital equipment, were in short supply.
(Figure 1. The impact of Covid-19 on healthcare supply chains )
Research has shown that traditional supply chain lines were heavily impacted by Covid in the following ways:
The pandemic has highlighted how current supply chains are insufficiently prepared for times of crisis. However, manufacturers, governments and healthcare systems can learn valuable lessons from the pandemic.
Investment into enhancing current supply chain models is key to ensuring healthcare systems are better prepared in the future .
At a global and regional level certain groups have experienced disproportionate levels of exposure and death due to the virus. These groups include ethnic minorities, those on low incomes, disabled people, care home residents, and those in key worker roles .
In order to support sustainable global recovery, there needs to be commitment and clear action to reduce the inequalities that have been exposed by the pandemic.
This should be a central focus for healthcare institutes and governments, and should be reflected in how they are constituted, measured, and held to account
There is no doubt that Covid-19’s impact on healthcare has and will continue to transform the sector – and more so than any other. In some ways this could be a silver lining, as adaptions to healthcare planning and delivery could lead to enhanced and improved patient care.
To find out more about how IDR Medical can help your business understand developments within the medical market, please do not hesitate to contact us to arrange a discussion to understand how we can assist you.