The Business of Healthcare after COVID-19 Is Gone

Ryan Sommers, PMP, Senior Director, Epic Practice
Apr 28, 2020

Whether it is next week, next month, or next year, affairs in the US will open back up and return to a state of relative calm. But most agree that business as we know it will change significantly. Very few entities, be they small businesses or publicly traded international conglomerates, can weather repeated impacts of something like the COVID epidemic. And healthcare businesses in the United States have already been doubly affected, as they face the same financial and operational stresses that all businesses do, while simultaneously bearing the burden of day-to-day combat and execution just to get everyone through to the other side of the storm. Nobody wants to see and experience another mass-impact event such as this, but there will be more, and whether the next one is another health pandemic, a financial crash, or international conflict, there are things every smart organization will be doing to pivot their business to improve and prepare. Some of the changes will be seen relatively quickly, while others will still take some time, but one thing is almost certain, COVID-19 has become a tipping point from which there will be no simple return to “business as usual”.

With regard to Healthcare in the US specifically, below are 4 critical shifts that all businesses will need to strategize and prepare for. If you aren’t already thinking and planning around these considerations, you’re already falling even further behind and will see an almost inevitable extension to the negative impacts COVID has brought.

a. The unique advantages and disadvantages to your system with each of the primary video vendors?

b. Your plan to scale, deploy, and support across the enterprise?

c. How you will structure and schedule in-person and virtual visits in a blended model for maximum efficiency?

d. What does the appetite and comfort level look like for digital interaction within your patient and provider populations?

e. Financial fool-proofing - steps to assure revenue integrity and maximize reimbursement?

a. Chat bots are here to stay and already taking some of the load off.

b. The major EHRs have never been more ripe and capable of providing efficiency backed directly by data. Many resources still have the potential for 25% efficiency gains.

c. They may be slow-going, but legislative and regulatory changes are on the way.

d. Digital and analytical technology integration has never been more possible and impactful, along with interoperability and cloud-connected services.

a. Does your business currently operate in a “perfection is the enemy of good enough” model?

b. What is the average duration of your IT-related projects? What does the ideal timeframe look like for a majority?

c. Are there ways you can improve and compress the critical path for your projects?

d. Where do you have opportunities for better cross-functional work and improved collaboration between disparate teams?

a. What technologies are you leveraging or planning to leverage to facilitate remote work, communication, and collaboration? Teams, Zoom, Skype, Slack, etc.

b. Do you have a plan and analytics to accommodate remote resource monitoring and measure productivity?

c. What services or areas does it make the most sense for you to begin the remote transition with? What departments could see the most benefit or gain?

The organizations that strategically and proactively take the lead in the transition with these items are inevitably those that will capitalize on and realize the largest direct gains, along with the quickest return to “business as usual” or really what will eventually become for all “the new normal”. Here’s wishing a smooth and speedy road ahead to those already at the forefront of these ventures, along with those about to embark in earnest.

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