There’s no question that the COVID-19 pandemic of 2019 and 2020 will change the world in many ways — it already has. And it stands to reason that the profession on the front lines of this global crisis, healthcare, and medicine, will change substantially as well. While it’s impossible to predict exactly what will come out of all of this, some changes seem destined to come to fruition. Let’s take a look at four of the major ways that COVID-19 will likely impact the future of healthcare.
Telemedicine and Virtual Care Will Grow
Telemedicine and telehealth existed before this crisis, but now they’ll likely become indispensable parts of the treatment arsenal for many healthcare facilities and hospitals. Telehealth consults have increased dramatically since the outbreak began, as many patients either don’t want to come to hospitals or are being told to stay home for the greater good. And that has shown us the value of virtual care. It remains to be seen how commonplace telehealth will become in the future, but it seems like a good bet that it will only become more accepted, especially for minor health concerns.
Cybersecurity Will Be Even More Important
The increase in telemedicine and virtual care has a downside. As more patients receive consultation and care through a computer, and more hospital and healthcare employees work remotely, the cybersecurity risks rise. That raises all sorts of sticky privacy and data-sharing questions. It’s safe to say that cybersecurity in the healthcare realm, while already extremely important, will only become more of a major focus for hospitals and healthcare providers.
Supply Chains Will Need to Be Solidified
We’ve all seen the news headlines about shortages of masks and other personal protective gear for healthcare workers. This crisis has made it abundantly clear how important it is that the supply and logistics chains remain open and flowing so that equipment and gear, vaccinations, medications, and other essential healthcare supplies can get where they need to go. It’s especially important that those supply chains are built to accept a surge in demand whenever it may occur.
Staffing Needs Will Become Clear
On the staffing side, it’s now more obvious than ever that healthcare providers need to be prepared to hire on extra staff in times of high demand. A situation like the COVID-19 pandemic causes nurses and doctors to work incredibly long, hard hours, and unfortunately, some of those individuals will get sick themselves. Staffing needs must be met in order to offset these eventualities.
No one knows for sure what kind of changes the world will see as we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic. But it’s safe to say that the field of healthcare will be changed forever in some ways. And the nurses and doctors on the front lines will help to make those changes for the better.