The health industry is adapting all the time, but the speed of those changes has increased dramatically since the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020.
Health services constitute the largest employer in the United States, meaning that these changes are having a big impact on health providers. New technologies and business practices are shaping how patients and medical staff experience the service.
Here are three of the new ways of working that are impacting health companies around the world.
Telehealth is the process through which healthcare is provided online or over the telephone. Discussing illness in this way enables patients to speak with professionals from the comfort of their home. This often allows for more honest conversations, which can lead to quicker and better treatment.
The number of patients opting for telehealth has increased over recent decades in line with technological advantages, but most significantly as a result of the legal and ethical constraints on movement resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
In America, the percentage of telehealth visits for persons aged 18-49 years in January 2020 was 68%, rising to 73% by March 2020 – demonstrating this rise in online and telephone consultations.
One of the major benefits of increased telehealth services is that meeting online or chatting over the phone limits the spread of infection and the risk of superbugs emerging in hospitals. This ensures that the public and hospital staff are healthier.
Telehealth also allows people to access health professionals outside of their local area. This means that some patients can reach specialists for the first time. Online consultations also reduce the number of vehicles on the road, supporting air quality and health.
In contrast, the challenge with telehealth is that some medical institutions may not have the money to properly invest in these online systems. If they do use funds in this way, this could limit spending elsewhere in the service.
Unlike publicly-owned health services in places including the United Kingdom, the American system of healthcare is all privately owned.
As the health industry in America continues to grow at speed, the outsourcing of work becomes more likely.
Third-party companies offer to provide such provisions as process development services, which negates the need for health-focussed businesses to provide all the required services inhouse.
Outsourcing is a major money-saver for the health industry, and ensures that patients receive the care they need quickly and effectively.
Working from Home
While home working isn’t appropriate for all health workers, many behind-the-scenes office staff can be relocated to their homes.
This new way of working – which also grew dramatically during the Covid-19 pandemic – is a benefit to employers who will save on building costs and also to employees who can save money on commuting.
The Bottom Line
New ways of working are changing the health industry, from home working and telehealth to outsourcing. These changes impact on how services are run and how health professionals conduct their job responsibilities.