Despite the immense knowledge within the healthcare sector, rapid medical developments and the incredibly advanced treatments our healthcare system has to offer, COVID-19 has once again proven the unpredictability of mother nature and the need for continuously improving on already high-quality care and research.
New restrictions are being implemented or considered around the world as a second wave of COVID-19 cases emerges while we head into flu season.
The coronavirus has forced us to live a new reality which has impacted our personal lives and created a new playing field for many industries – with a major impact on the healthcare sector. Although we are still in the midst of this global crisis and awaiting a successful vaccine, we can reflect on what we have learned so far and apply those learnings as we move forward.
The need for flexibility
COVID-19 hit the global healthcare industry quicker than anyone could have expected. There were few crisis plans previously in place to guide us through this pandemic. As infection and mortality rates increased rapidly, the need for additional patient capacity and staff skyrocketed. Hospitals faced difficulties scaling or switching equipment types to meet the urgent demands. Consequently, non-emergency and elective procedures were postponed, leaving suffering patients to wait longer for treatments. Globally, the industry faced scenarios that were previously unimaginable for developed countries with a mature and innovative healthcare infrastructure in place.
The need for flexibility became glaringly apparent. Healthcare facilities needed to quickly scale up or down the treatments they were offering. Hospitals needed to urgently acquire additional beds, staff and space. This need also ran counter to the pre-COVID trend of reducing inpatient capacity commensurate with expanding outpatient services. Governments helped with some of the unbudgeted expenses, while financing solutions provided flexibility by allowing the immediate acquisition of assets without capital constraints.