The COVID-19 outbreak has impacted our lives in all aspects. It is the first time in human history that a pandemic has shut down the entire global economy, challenging us to move forward by facing the burden of challenges it has imposed on us.
And which sector covid pandemic has affected the most?
Of course, the healthcare sector.
Key Challenges Faced By Health Care Sector During COVID-19
Medicine has seen tremendous growth in recent times. The last pandemic before COVID-19 happened in 1918, about a century ago. It posed many more challenges owing to the lack of medical and research facilities that we have today.
Nonetheless, the health care sector still faced challenges during the tiring times of COVID-19. As soon as the COVID-19 outbreak began, countries around the globe imposed lockdowns, and we all know how it impacted the world economy and our lifestyle.
The health sector, in particular, had some critical issues to deal with. Not only primary health care, but also ancillary functions like imaging, lab tests, and drug tests are also affected by this pandemic.
Difficulties in conducting ancillary functions
Most of the hospitals in many countries still have ancillary functions as a part of their internal operations. However, as COVID 19 patients may require more of such services, hospitals are now separating such services from the hospital operations for the outpatients. Right now authorities are considering several options like conducting ancillary functions like drug tests remotely with aid of telehealth screenings.
Many covid positive patients had mild or no signs of being affected. However, they do pose threats of transmission. It was one of the reasons lockdown was imperative in curbing the spread of this disease. To detect such cases is also a challenge in itself.
Even when the economy started declining, we cannot overlook the increase in obligation to provide patient health care. For this reason, hospitals and clinics had to cut short some of their services like elective procedures, annual checkups to be able to provide better emergency services for the pandemic patients. It creates a negative impact on health care revenue, leaving it vulnerable to financial instability.
Acute Material Shortages
As patients kept flocking in, the supply for emergency services like ventilators, medications couldn’t match the demands. Not only ventilators, but protection gears for doctors, patients, and everyone, in general, became a necessity. Result? Acute shortage of material supply.
The Decline in Mental health
COVID-19 and the following lockdowns had many companies shut, people losing their jobs, everything that could trigger the insecurities that happened during this period. The suicide and depression rates saw a new height. Healthcare workers made sure to create awareness and provide the right medical treatment to the needy.
How The Healthcare Sector Has Transformed Post COVID-19?
COVID-19 has forced our present healthcare systems to drastically transform the way it works by opting for more sustainable solutions. Social distancing has paved the way to improve the virtual health offering in the new normal.
Expanding the remote consultations and communication
Even though the concept of virtual care isn’t new, COVID-19 explored its possibilities and the benefits it has to offer to the health care sector, Virtual care is now not limited to emergencies but a part of the regular health care regimen across the world.
There will be an increase in virtual clinics owing to the social distancing norms. Here the doctors take inputs from patients via a video call and prescribe the required medicines and consultations.
Separating ancillary functions from core hospital operations
It would help in increasing the capacity of emergency diagnostics for an inpatient, especially a covid affected one. It implies that the dependency on the local specialized lab clinics will rise to a great extent. This temporary outsourcing can lift some burden from the medical institutions.
New Healthcare professions
As the virtual world kicks in the healthcare industry as well, there are a handful of new jobs it can offer. Hospitals now prefer healthcare workers with broader skills and flexibility to work at odd times.
For example, a virtual clinic manager, who will manage the patients, fix them an appointment with the doctor, and everything that a hospital receptionist would do, except online.
Another hottest healthcare profession is the 3D printing surgeon and specialist. Doctors are leveraging 3D printing for better diagnosis. However, this intricate technology needs a specialist to operate, right? And that’s what this professional does.
Owing to the safety concerns, not only the health care industry but every company has brought in a set of regulations to curb the spread of the virus. E-prescribing medications wherever possible, use of multipurpose beds, limits to the admission of patients are some of the regulations we can vouch out for in the future. With each passing day, regulators are trying to bring in new frameworks that fit right for the patients and the healthcare providers.
This global tragedy has been harsh on the healthcare professionals just like it has been on the global economy and population. Therefore, what these professionals have to endure to provide the best care for the infected cannot be brushed aside.
Towards a Healthy Future
It is great to see that we are all moving forward from the heavy impact of COVID-19 and the need for a robust public health system. And right now, it looks like there may be no way back from what we have become so far. So, our best option is to get adapted to the new normal and look forward to more ways that can transform the health sector in a better way.