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US healthcare industry: Surviving the pandemic

COVID-19 has pushed the country’s medical fraternity to embrace change swiftly

The incessant spread of COVID-19 has taken a heavy toll on the healthcare industry in the US. Be it the need to provide increased medical care or address mental issues faced by an ever-increasing number of patients, the challenges faced by this sector last year have been many, and most have spilled into 2021.

Looking at telehealth

This scenario has, for one, led to the increased use of telehealth in the US medical landscape. The shift is visible in the corporate domain too. Today, 95% of large US employers cover telehealth, up from 56% in 2016, as per a report by PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI). 

Though the use of telehealth is not restricted to any one vertical, it is expected that certain areas – such as mental health – would definitely benefit more from virtual visits.  A large chunk – 32% – of US citizens surveyed acknowledged that they experienced anxiety or depression owing to the pandemic.

However, the results of using telehealth have been skewed, and it may take time for the process to smoothen out. For one, all caregivers were not exposed equally to the dynamics and use of telehealth prior to the pandemic.

Other factors that call for attention are the timely reimbursement to caregivers and providers, the augmented importance of the role of pharmaceutical and life sciences companies in the chain, and the increased need of the industry to become tach-savvy. 

Another trend

The increased use of digitization is another gamechanger. It has helped decrease the workload of many doctors, and is now looked at to reduce the struggle even further.

A shift in automation health systems from the back office of finance and human resources to the doctor’s office has been predicted. It is estimated that providers will invest in marketing technologies that can ‘endorse targeted outreach policies for use by physician liaisons. They can then use them to strengthen relationships with the medical fraternity and create demand.’

Majority of respondents to HRI’s survey—94% of provider executives, 92% of life sciences executives and 91% of health plan executives— said that refining the clinician experience is a priority for their organizations this year.

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