There has not been a year in modern history that was as challenging for medical care as 2020. Although scientists developed the vaccine with astonishing speed, the pandemic is far from over and COVID-19 will continue to challenge healthcare professionals for the foreseeable future. With the advancements in COVID knowledge and care, there appears to be a new host of issues that will face healthcare in 2021.
The pandemic has revealed some shortcomings of our healthcare system, from inadequate financing to inefficient care allocation. However, the crisis has also demonstrated that the technology to deal with some of these difficult challenges is already here, we just need to know how to make proper use of it. Addressing long-neglected problems and adopting modern solutions to solve them should be the primary concern of any healthcare manager in 2021.
Take a look at five challenges that you'll face in order to stay up to date with the healthcare revolution and build resiliency for your medical business in 2021.
#1 Faster transition to remote medicine
Remote medicine has been around for a long time, but it was not until the pandemic struck that patients and doctors fully realized its potential. As things continue to improve, we should learn how to leverage virtual healthcare, telemedicine, remote patient monitoring, and other similar solutions to ensure we are keeping pace with science and patient expectations.
When implemented correctly, telehealth is convenient, accessible, and efficient. Leading practices and hospitals are also recognizing this and the telemedicine market is expected to grow at 37.7% each year to reach a global worth of $191 billion by 2025.
#2 Embracing big data analytics
As patients increasingly shift to telemedicine and move online, medical providers can leverage robust tools to help manage all of the generated and stored data. The difficulty lies in handling the vast volumes of information as well as their variety: there's patient data, prescriptions, results, insurance plan info, wearable technology readings and much much more.
Making proper use of data to enable quicker, data-driven decisions is as much of a challenge as it is an opportunity for medical businesses. The use possibilities are in fact endless — The following article: applications of data science in medicine include good ideas regarding diagnostics, wearable technology, enhanced staffing, and drug discovery and its relationship to data.
#3 Overcoming patient safety concerns
Although remote communication with patients is easier than ever before, an in-person examination is sometimes the only option. One of the biggest challenges facing healthcare in 2021 will be to convince patients that it is safe to visit their doctor and that all security measures are in place.
The number of emergency visits in April 2020 has decreased by 42% compared to the same month in 2019. Patient anxiety and concern can also stop patients from visiting specialists. In a recent study, up to 41% of adults experiencing a stroke or heart attack symptoms would prefer to stay at home rather than risk a COVID infection in a hospital. This is a clear sign that making patients feel safe should be one of the main focus's for doctors and healthcare management in 2021.
#4 Improving health equity
The pandemic has only worsened the already acute and long-standing issue of health disparity. A recent study shows that COVID-19 infection rates are almost three times higher in black Americans. Some of the main factors include a higher likelihood of preexisting conditions, non-remote jobs, and lack of health insurance.
Other underprivileged groups face similar challenges and barriers that limit their access to healthcare. Facilities aren't always adapted to the needs of the disabled, and low-income families who often lack proper health care coverage and knowledge. Due to its critical role in society, the medical industry can rise to the task of eliminating these disparities and playing an important role in improving the lives of ALL people within their community.
#5 Optimizing payment processing
Even though 83% of patients prefer electronic payment methods, most medical bills and statements are still delivered on paper. If we use technology to analyze data, communicate with patients, and develop ground-breaking new drugs, why not apply it to facilitate payments and billing?
Many solutions already exist that help streamline payment collection and improve the patient experience. Paperless statement delivery via email or your patient portal, text reminders, improved data security, and mobile payments are just some of the benefits of optimizing payments for your patients. Digital technology gives your patients the impression that your practice is up to date with new medical advances as well as facilitates collecting outstanding receivables.
If there's one quality that'll be essential for all healthcare managers to succeed in 2021, it's flexibility. Staying open to new trends and focusing on your patient's new expectations will ensure that your practice will overcome anything that 2021 throws at it. The evolution is already here, if your practice is not moving forward with it, then its moving backward.