2020 by far has been an unprecedented year for most organizations, given the considerable disruption caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing and self-isolation have now become a part of our lifestyle. In this article, I will try and cover the speedy evolution and adoption of new and innovative technologies within the Healthcare ecosystem since the start of the pandemic and nearly six months in!
The impact of COVID-19 has been widespread across industries and organizations of varying sizes, but the pressure on the healthcare ecosystem has been the most. Stringent social distancing norms and quarantine procedures that have been implemented across the world have led to increasing demands on healthcare organizations. They have had to adopt and leverage digital solutions such as Telehealth rapidly to provide remote yet remote care.
The ease of use, efficiency, and fast turnaround time is also a reason why Telehealth services are proving to be important in this situation. Even after the pandemic abates, we see Telehealth facilities play a significant role as patients and providers have embraced the technology and realized the convenience it can provide.
While Telehealth has seen the surge, so have may of the sub-segments in the entire Healthcare value chain let us take a quick look at how the healthcare sub-segments are adopting technology amidst the pandemic. Some of the key challenges and use of technology that we have seen recently are centered around:
- Increasing demand and pressure on Healthcare systems
- Additional protocols and enforcement of social distancing and quarantine rules to counter the spread of the virus
- Inadequate staff and facilities to cater to this rising demand
- Complicated and time-consuming protocols that are highly manual
Hospitals and medical practitioners have been heavily impacted due to the pandemic; healthcare enablement organizations are equally under pressure. From Pharma, Payers, Providers, and Healthcare Software Vendors, the situation is similarly challenging.
Owing to market pressures and changing healthcare reforms since the pandemic, payer companies are looking to improve operational efficiency, reduce costs, and optimize member experience. This has led healthcare payers to adopt digital solutions to help facilitate a better experience and cater to its customers. These solutions are centered around the use of technology to provide advanced analytics, customer relationship management (CRM), online billing systems, and other managed services.
Healthcare pharma was one of the early adopters of technology to enhance business processes. But since the pandemic, the application of digital products and solutions in the Pharma sector is on the rise. Pharma is looking for innovations in several key areas like:
- Digital Healthcare ecosystem
- e-prescription management
- Point-of-sale management
- Claims Management
- Medical Communication Systems
- Digital Document Management
- Security and Privacy solutions
- CRM / Salesforce
- Compliance Management
Pharma industries are adopting innovations to provide quick and affordable healthcare products while abiding by the tightened compliance norms. This is one of the prime reasons why the adoption of Cloud, DevOps, Big Data, and AI-enabled services is one the rise in this sector.
Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM)
PBMs are third-party administrators who help the government or private insurers to administer prescription-drug programs. Due to the nature of the COVID-19 virus, PBMs are adopting remote healthcare services rapidly compared to other segments. These institutions are utilizing technology as a key driver in reducing drug costs, ensuring the convenience, and safety of customers while improving the overall quality of care.
The pandemic has led to an increase in healthcare regulations, as the scrutiny for healthcare providers increases. The ultimate goal is to bring better healthcare and facilitate a patient-centric environment, but meeting the demands of these added compliances has proved challenging.
Healthcare providers are thus focused on value delivery, care management, and process optimization to bring down costs and accelerate innovation in healthcare. The use of technology and innovation for healthcare providers is therefore focused around Mobile App Development, HIPAA and other regulations, Performance Management (BI/Analytics), Data Management (Big Data), and Predictive Analytics (AI/ML).
Healthcare Product Companies
As digital health evolves; the problem is not as much to create digital health platforms; as it is to bring together disparate digital assets and data from multiple systems to deliver and enable rapid innovation. Healthcare ISVs need extensive domain expertise, high-end technology skills, project management excellence, and a niche in producing Healthcare software products that target the right challenges. This pandemic has presented an opportunity for healthcare product companies to start building and implementing strategic digital healthcare roadmaps. With collaboration and a focused approach, organizations that leverage technology innovation for addressing several healthcare issues are poised for success.
As we can clearly see, technology is enabling not just hospitals and medical practitioners, but also the several healthcare sub-segments to drive efficiency and enable faster response rates. But now, the use of technology can also create affordable and accessible healthcare for all while reducing contact exposure. Digital transformation in healthcare is a step forward and will continue to alter the way we look at healthcare.
Having worked with healthcare organizations since the last few years, we at e-Zest Healthcare feel digital transformation can empower and facilitate healthcare to gain the benefits of emerging technology and digital services. Although the pandemic has disrupted global systems, it has also helped organizations re-prioritize to be more patient-centric, enabling better healthcare services in the long run.