Before 2020, the major disruptions taking place in the industry usually happened due to technology innovations, changing regulations or business-related activities. But in 2020, the COVID-19 virus completely changed our world. From the time it was first detected to its rapid spread globally, the entire industry had to go through a transition of sorts. In particular, the healthcare industry had to go through a complete shift to mitigate this crisis. The healthcare industry had to adapt to the changes on the fly, implementing social distancing mechanisms and constantly updating safety protocols as per new findings on the virus. These have been tough times, but what is commendable is the spirit and positivity showcased by the healthcare industry to manage this situation.
In the fight against COVID-19, technology has played a significant role, and businesses are only looking to build on the momentum from these efforts. Telehealth services, remote monitoring, and other digitally enhanced services helped manage the crisis better and are now mainstream, enabling healthcare organizations to scale operations, gain efficiencies and deliver business outcomes despite increasing pressure. The innovations that we witnessed in healthcare can also be applied to other industries, where remote working, digital enablement and online offering continue to play a major role despite the unlocks in many geographies.
There is a lot we can learn from the pandemic, especially with the success we have achieved in healthcare. Here is a quick reflection on the innovations that we observed in the healthcare industry since the COVID-19 pandemic and the lessons we can all learn from this:
Lesson 1: Early adopters get the first-mover advantage
It is our ability to respond to a crisis that determines the level of success, but the early adopters and innovators were the ones who truly came out strong in stressful times. The pandemic required healthcare to be agile and innovative, for the need of the hour was to increase efficiency and effectiveness despite rising challenges. Updates to governance and new regulations required not just a realignment in the entire process; it also needed reskilling of the workforce to be mindful of these updates.
Healthcare organizations that had already begun the move to digital before the pandemic gained the advantage, as they could implement digital technology faster and manage demand better. Be it healthcare or other industries, being a step ahead to adopt emerging technologies will always prove beneficial. This implies improving the overall business process and upskilling the team to be familiar with the new updates taking place. As the pace of digitization accelerates, industries need to identify areas of enhancement and build a workplace culture that is open to adopting emerging technologies to enhance, simplify or automate existing processes.
Lesson 2: Virtual is here to stay!
Telehealth services served as a tool to fight the pandemic, mainly due to its ability to connect patients and doctors remotely. Healthcare needed to implement strict distancing norms, and telehealth offered the perfect solution for this problem. From remote monitoring, online consultation, and much more, telehealth allows healthcare workers to cater to more patients, reach a wider footprint, and do it all while they maintain all social distancing and quarantine procedures.
Similar to telehealth, businesses are quickly adopting online consultations and remote support to their customers. Take the example of digital commerce, where businesses and customers can connect virtually to offer a range of services. With advanced technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) in the mix, customers can preview products or services in their own environment, helping make the purchase more satisfactory and accurate. Teleconsultation can also be extended to other business areas and can help save time and effort, as inspections can be done virtually or only if a site visit is absolutely essential.
Lesson 3: We all need to be better prepared for disruptions
The impact of the COVID-19 crisis may continue in waves, but other disruptions can also fundamentally change the foreseeable future. Some of the changes are short-term, but there will be many that will be long-lasting. In this new environment, businesses need to have a Plan-B and be ready for disruptions, as we must reframe efforts and plan accordingly. In the time to come, we need to cater to the changing world and be more resilient for future crises. Healthcare may have been caught unaware during the first wave of COVID-19, but it is now better prepared for the future by adopting new processes and technologies. Many organizations are even going a step ahead, to ensure it is ready to take on critical situations like COVID-19 pandemic.
The key factors that are most predictive of the eventual success of a business are – preparation and pre-emption. And while healthcare has shown its ability to be agile and innovative, it is time we all learn a valuable lesson.
By applying these lessons and capitalizing on your own learnings to COVID-19, your organization can turn this crisis into an opportunity. To drive this transformation, business leaders across industries and within departments will need to develop their organizations' capacities to enable and sustain changes to their institutions and carve a strategy that is ready to take on a changed world. If you'd like to understand how you can create the ideal digital transformation roadmap for your business, e-Zest is here to help. Reach out to us to know how the learnings of COVID-19 and the use of emerging technologies can help you be futuristic and shape the growth of your organization.