Healthcare: 10 emerging trends in a post-COVID-19

1. During COVID-19, virtual-first primary care took centre stage, and the transition is here to stay.

A novel concept is not telemedicine (or telehealth). (See history.) Yet, in the early years, adoption was slow for both patients and providers. The COVID-19 crisis has introduced unprecedented changes and made it more mainstream for virtual health. Numerous primary care providers across the United States were forced to close down their physical facilities during the early days of COVID-19. As a result of this abrupt shock, telehealth was aggressively adopted and rolled out by many. Advanced primary care groups, such as Iora Health, in some cases,

2. Specialty care, which improves access and affordability, will be increasingly virtual. Disease-focused solutions, with full-stack offerings following suit, will flourish.

A large portion of specialty care has also shifted to virtual delivery during the COVID-19 pandemic, just like primary care. The expected permanence of these virtual models, however, will differ by specialty.

There are procedure-based specialties on one end of the spectrum that can not exist solely digitally. For example, many procedures in specialties such as ophthalmology and orthopaedics have been delayed due to a temporary ban on elective surgeries during the early months of COVID-19 (e.g., one study estimated a backlog of over one million cases for spinal fusions and joint replacements in the field of orthopaedic surgery alone). (See ‘Telehealth use as a percentage of total visits’ by specialty).

3. With most provider-patient interactions requiring a combination of synchronous and asynchronous contact, treatment will increasingly be provided asynchronously.

We see providers beginning to use an increasing mix of synchronous and asynchronous delivery across primary care and specialty care. Some types of asynchronous care are well established (e.g., X-rays forwarded or MRIs to be interpreted by a radiologist). But other forms of asynchronous contact, such as text and media messages, are growing in use with the move towards more virtual treatment, both for patients to communicate with their doctors and for physicians to consult with other specialists.

4. Employer wellness offerings will become increasingly virtual and home-centric as remote work becomes more prevalent.

38 percent of large employers offered an on-site health clinic in 2019 , up from 27 percent in 2014, according to a PWC Health Research Institute survey. Just as these figures are increasing, the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many businesses to work with a mainly remote workforce. While working from home may become part of the new standard, workers will always expect employers to provide readily accessible and affordable care. Read More From Source