COVID-19 has created challenges for almost every industry this year, and nowhere is this more obvious than healthcare.
The American Hospital Association estimates that hospitals and health systems are losing $50.7 billion a month due to canceled services and the costs of PPE and frontline workers. Service disruption has led to a lack of treatment for severe illnesses and conditions and an uncertain job market. Even as unemployment rates slow, many workers who no longer have medical insurance face rising costs and have chosen to avoid healthcare for the time being.
Despite or because of these challenges, companies have stepped up with a range of innovative solutions to help healthcare professionals continue to provide quality patient care.
Telehealth and Teletherapy
During the first peak of COVID-19 in March and April, telehealth visits made up nearly 70% of all patient care, outperforming in-person visits and emergency ambulatory services nationwide.
A recent report by medical networking site Doxomity found that the number of US patients who have had at least one telehealth visit has increased by 57% since the pandemic began.
While other research suggests that in-person medical visits are rising, Doximity’s report estimates over 20% of all medical visits will be conducted virtually by the end of 2020. This represents nearly $30 billion in healthcare services, which could increase by more than 300% by 2023 if healthcare continues to go digital.
Automated Screening and Diagnostics
Dealing with a highly-contagious disease with over 32 million cases across 213 countries has created serious concerns about safe and effective screening for coronavirus. A number of medical and security tech companies have begun to develop unique solutions for identifying COVID-19 in workplaces and public areas, such as:
- On-site thermal cameras for temperature screening
- Health Pass to expedite airport security lines
- Chatbots to screen patients before they enter medical facilities
- Screening and monitoring management software for emergency and urgent care
Digital Patient and Business Solutions
2020 has been the year of digital tools, and not just to combat a pandemic and ensure the continuation of patient care. A lot of tech solutions gaining traction allow both patients and healthcare businesses at a chaotic time.
Some medical centers adopted text-based virtual check-in systems to streamline communication and support social distancing to encourage patient appointments. Large pharmacy chains have started to invest more heavily in online prescriptions and shopping. In Q1 of 2020, CVS Pharmacy saw a 1,000% increase in digital orders alone. A range of coronavirus-related mobile apps has also become popular for symptom tracking, contact tracing, and quarantine tips.
Combating COVID-19 at Your Pharmacy
According to a June NCPA survey about the effects of COVID-19, 61% of respondents believe there’ll be a long-term demand for pharmacies to offer online availability and products. 39% see an increased need for telehealth services moving forward.
Offering hands-free services like curbside pickup, home delivery, and online shopping can help you serve patients safely. Consider adding digital tools to simplify communication and boost business growth, like a branded healthsite with digital refill capabilities or secure 2-way messaging on a pharmacy mobile app.
As patients rely on healthcare professionals to protect them during COVID-19, your pharmacy can take advantage of these new solutions to offer efficient quality care from a distance.
Digital Pharmacist has helped thousands of pharmacies transform their businesses during COVID-19. To learn more about our comprehensive suite of digital engagement and communication solutions, contact us today.