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COVID-19 Pandemic: An Eye-Opener for The Healthcare Systems across the Globe

After decades of negligence, it is now very clear that healthcare system across the globe was not too strong to fight and eliminate contagious diseases. Improved life expectancy can only be expected if public healthcare system includes proper sanitization and disease surveillance.

According to Statista May 2020 report, Japan has committed 21.1 percent of its GDP to overcome the crisis situation of COVID19, this package amounts to about 117.1 trillion Yen. Other G20 countries also committed to fiscal stimulus to mitigate the impact of COVID19.

Definitely, the after impact of COVID-19 is very huge but the complete healthcare system has been shaken up. Regulatory affairs management, pharmaceutical companies, insurance providers, hospital care and everyone related to healthcare system is now responsible to tackle with the pandemic situation.

2020 is definitely a turning point towards the future of healthcare. Most of the countries were moved to lockdown state and the doctor-led patient approach was washed away. Online interacting applications, video conference platforms and other online tools were found to be more efficient and had a responsive approach.

The COVID-19 has affected about 215 countries and the entire world is dealing with uncertainty to answer how long the pandemic last and what people’s life will look like after the pandemic gets over?

The impact was so strong that most of the countries have taken stringent steps to slow the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that spreads COVID-19. Healthcare industry has seen a surge of new applications and new platforms to overcome several issues to handle the pandemic. A dire need for hospitalization was felt during the crisis condition and most of the sports pavilions, hotels and club houses were transformed into patient care facilities. What helped these facilities to function properly was presence of EHR (Electronic Health Record), which was made accessible to every point and it was possible to create alert systems and monitor systems to classify COVID-19 patients and help the healthcare works in decision making process. After this pandemic gets over most of the countries will adopt the EHR system to ensure fast pace treatment regime for patients. This will be the biggest change in future where everyone will move towards the digital world.

Due to the COVID-19 situation, there was a bizarre collaboration between private and public hospitals, patients were transferred to private hospitals to help the public hospitals to cope with increasing cases. This scenario has displayed lack of interoperability between private and public healthcare systems in Spain and other affected countries. In coming years, countries should adopt more flexible and efficient measures to conduct operations.

The healthcare system across the globe has started using Telemedicine as a life saving tool. It saves both time and money. Isolated patients are able to communicate with their family physicians, and doctors are able to monitor huge numbers of patients on real time basis. Increasing demand for telework has been in implementation since the COVID-19 crisis was felt. Telehealth will be tipping oven now with more innovative approach and detailed workflow as CDC recommended the healthcare institutions to explore alternate ways to reduce the patient visits.

Allscripts Healthcare Solutions provides practice management and electronic health record technology to physician, hospitals and other healthcare providers. It has created a specialized plan for clients to swiftly implement telehealth at their organizations through EHR-agnostic patient engagement platform.

The pharma industry which is an integral part of healthcare industry will definitely undergo certain changes after the pandemic gets over to mitigate the future risks of contagious diseases. Some of the impacts are on:

  1. Cost of drugs & raw materials – after the outbreak, cost of drugs and raw materials has shoot up, for example in countries like India, Singapore, Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia cost of vitamins has increased by 30 to 40%.
  2. Supply chain – as most of the countries are under lockdown, import of APIs has stopped.
  3. FDA policies – drugs review process is very lengthy, but due to the COVID-19 impact, FDA plans to give more relaxation.
  4. Data & Analytics – Pharmaceutical data is present in enormous amount, but most of the data is not used. Now companies will try to explore full potential of data analytics to be efficiently used in clinical trials, drug forecasting and marketing.

Health insurance which is another important part of healthcare industry is facing a lot of challenges; most of the insurers are rethinking their policy structuring due to the outbreak. Insurance providers will adopt stringent terms and conditions and premium charged would also increase by 30% to 50%.

What will happen to the private healthcare providers? How will they benefit?

Private healthcare is facing a twin burden since the outbreak, (a) investment in additional manpower, equipment, and other resources and (b) a steep drop in elective surgeries and reduced patient number. This particular segment will rise slowly within next 6 to 8 months by acquiring more innovative approach and awareness that focuses on the pandemic.

COVID-19 has also given a big blow to medical device industry. Most of the countries face a shortage of ventilators, gloves, masks, syringes, bandages, and computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging devices. But this gave an opportunity to several companies to come up for production of medical devices. Stratasys, a USA based medical device company started production of 3D printed personal protection equipment which is not shipped globally.

Most of the countries will introduce new healthcare facilities like fast pace tracking of target implementation for public health emergencies with proper disaster management plans, keep up to date community awareness towards proper hygiene so it will have a long term impact, filling up the gaps in treating patients with other ailments, internalization of the pharmaceutical supply chain and most importantly strengthen the infrastructure of public private partnerships.

The COVID-19 outbreak has been an eye opener for healthcare systems across the globe. Most of the countries will now adopt healthcare facilities which will be more stringent and transparent for human access. Demand for hospitals beds also increased as most of the countries faced shortage of beds, governments will include policies to develop the infrastructure and increase more beds for patient care.

Technology will play a main role in reshaping the healthcare system after the COVID-19 impact. Use of virtual reality, 3D printing, prosthetics and augmented reality and introduction of robotic healthcare workers will come into existence. Healthcare framework will operate in more innovative ways. Virtual Care, Telemedicine and EHR (Electronic Health Record) will boom the future of healthcare industry.

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