14. October 2020 - Report

Healthcare in the light of Covid19: 5 key trends

Healthare consulting

Not only the Corona crisis has shown: Work forms are changing, companies are being challenged by the current crisis and the ongoing digital change in the business world. What does this mean for the healthcare industry? The experience of the last couple of months has demonstrated the need but also the potential for fundamental shifts in healthcare. The pandemic will remain a priority until an effective vaccine has been developed. The ability to adjust to the new normal will define the future success of healthcare providers.

Five key trends are emerging for the healthcare industry:

1. Retail pharmacies are growing to provide even more healthcare services

Embedding health providers in retail locations was becoming more accepted by patients and physicians already before the pandemic. The trend extends to grocery chains, that are employing dietitians to give advice in stores. As Greg Horne points out, companies like Walmart are adding primary care physicians in addition to the eye care and audiology services. Thereby, they are becoming a true healthcare provider for both customers and staff. The convergence trend isn’t limited to physical stores. Big companies with a huge workforce such as Amazon are considering the option of setting up a healthcare company just for their staff.

2. Retail shopping centers to be transformed into care facilities

Online shopping gained significant momentum in the crisis: people try to avoid shopping centers and malls to not expose themselves. This results in more available space in those malls giving healthcare providers an opportunity to use the vacant space to provide their services and to transform these spaces into care facilities. Retail shopping centers make ideal locations for healthcare because they are designed for large crowds and are often in the center of communities with transportation infrastructure and ample parking already in place.

3. Facilities designed to maximize infection control

Up until now hospitals have had often rooms with up to 5 beds with only limited physical separation from one bed to another. However, seeing the recent trends hospitals will be focused to provide more single rooms and more importance will be given to the ability to quickly convert regular beds to intensive/crucial care beds. As McKinsey points out in one of their latest reports, healthcare facilities require greater agility in how hospitals are constructed to ensure that they can be quickly converted from regular beds to intensive/crucial care beds.

4. Virtual care is expected to be part of the new normal

Access to health advice and monitoring of health conditions became more structured and accurate with the rise of wearable technology, e.g., monitoring watches, sensors and virtual care. McKinsey states in the mentioned article that home-based care likely will be supplemented with artificial intelligence (AI). Virtual care via AI, phone-based diagnostics, and other virtual patient engagement platforms are expected to be part of this expansion. This will reduce the need for seniors or disabled people to travel to their physicians. Improvements to healthcare access and technology will enable patients with mobility challenges to consult their physicians more regularly without the challenge of travel.

5. Labor costs in some selected healthcare disciplines may rise

The tremendous pressure and need for healthcare workers in selected disciplines, particularly in critical care disciplines, will be translated into higher labor costs. In some countries it is getting more and more difficult to fill healthcare positions with qualified personnel. This supply shortage of healthcare workers will increase labor costs in the sector.

The healthcare sector will see a lot of changes in the coming years. At expertpowerhouse we follow market trends closely and the mentioned trends could be part of a future “new normal”. Healthcare providers need to adjust their business models now to ensure their future competitiveness. We invite you to discuss how to best get out of the crisis as a winner, please reach out to expertpowerhouse. We are a global platform offering on-demand healthcare project support with vetted management consultants and highly experienced subject matter experts.