Healthcare in the Age of COVID-19: What Will Change?

By |Published On: January 20th, 2021|

The world has spent the better part of a year trying to navigate all of the changes and variables brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, especially those within the healthcare landscape. Hospital systems are once again experiencing scarcity of resources as deaths and admissions continue to set record highs.

Providers and patients alike have seen global changes in priorities, delivery standards, and methodologies in the dispensation of care. Now, with current and impending vaccines offering a proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, it’s worth examining what changes are a product of temporary adjustment and which are here to stay. With that in mind, let’s discuss what healthcare will be like in the age of COVID-19.

Increased Focus on Infection Control

As evidenced by new strain of the virus that has grounded flights and once again halted everyday life in the United Kingdom, there’s reason to believe that COVID will endure for a long time even after the rollout of the vaccines. This means that epidemiologists and infectious-disease clinicians will continue to place a higher premium on prevention and control as they ultimately pursue total eradication of the virus. The World Health Organization (WHO), as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have enacted specific protocol for virus prevention in healthcare settings, which are likely to endure and may even actually get more stringent.

Epidemiologists and infectious-disease clinicians will continue to place a higher premium on prevention and control as they ultimately pursue total eradication of the virus.

Utilization of Telehealth Visits Continues to Grow in Different Areas of Healthcare Delivery

There’s no debate that telehealth has proliferated during the pandemic. As social distancing and general public health concerns have shifted medical visits primarily to a largely virtual paradigm, specialists in more and more disease states are adopting telehealth as a primary means of seeing patients for non-urgent issues.

Regulators have relaxed HIPAA laws to make telehealth more accessible to patients and more flexible for care providers, as telemedicine continues to increase exponentially. The healthcare industry may see an ebb and flow in telehealth engagement, based on corresponding rises and falls in cases; however, policies that were enacted to strengthen telehealth during the pandemic will likely remain. The American Medical Association highlights several key ways in which the pandemic has grown telemedicine on both a clinical and administrative level:

  • Medicare is paying physicians the same rates for telehealth services as they do for in-person visits for all diagnoses, not just those related to COVID-19, through the duration of the pandemic.

  • Patients can receive telehealth services in any remote setting, not just in their homes.

  • Patients do not need to have an existing relationship with the physician who is providing telehealth assistance.

  • Physicians are allowed to waive or reduce cost-sharing for telehealth visits.

  • Physicians who are licensed in one state are allowed to see a patient in a different state.

The reality is that, with different strains of the virus becoming a growing point of concern, as well as the arrival of general flu season, there’s a good chance these changes will be baked into future healthcare policy for 2021 and beyond.

Telehealth Call with Doctor

Greater Emphasis on Mental Health and Wellness

The ways in which the pandemic has caused people to think more about their mental health and holistic wellness are practically too many to count. Between quality-of-life factors that have been exacerbated by self-isolation, like diet and diet fitness, and the depression and anxiety that comes from living under COVID-related conditions, the need for healthcare providers to address the need of the “whole patient,” has never been more urgent.

Recent data from the Cleveland Clinic indicates that 68 percent of respondents to a survey said that the pandemic has caused them to pay more attention to certain risk factors for other health issues. Nearly 40 percent said they were paying more attention to their depression and anxiety levels; over 35 percent reported paying more attention to their autoimmune or other chronic diseases; 15 percent are paying more attention to their lung health and nearly a third are monitoring their physical fitness. It’s more incumbent than ever upon providers to address these factors during routine visits.

Learn more about the GoMo Health behavioral health solutions here »

GoMo Health recognizes the importance of comprehensive support in helping patients manage all aspects of their conditions in their lived environments. This is why we have partnered with care providers and hospital systems across the world to build programs that address the totality of their disease states and the struggles they face when trying to manage them.

COVID-19 solutions for 2021 and beyond

Address the psychosocial and physical needs of individuals managing their daily lives in the wake of COVID-19 with Personal Concierge.

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