By Derek Jones

Healthcare organizations are dealing with new policies, as they navigate the task of redesigning care in a time of change. The toll of this pandemic is high, when measured by the cost of human lives and suffering. The economic slowdown, and the psychosocial impact, make strong reasons to change experiences into lessons. These lessons will be important in preventing similar future crises, through improving the whole spectrum of population health and healthcare delivery.

Infectious diseases are the most critical health hazards that require attention in the future. The COVID-19 crisis has shown the role of healthcare providers and systems. The caregivers’ essential role has been illustrated. This role presents new threats and opportunities for all front lines of caregivers.

Many of these need them to rethink their business and delivery of care models. In preparation for more pandemic waves, there is a need to act. These institutions need to start assessing markets, and prepare to participate in regular activities with new systems as the industry recovers.

Moreover, technological changes in healthcare facility management technologies, such as AI, telemedicine, video conferencing, patient portals, and instant messaging, will be essential. Features like online video interviewing will also help integrate foreign health professionals and reduce practitioner shortage.

Also, platforms provide patients with chances to interact with foreign medical people, despite the location. Reports of medical practitioners at hospitals being quarantined because of exposure to COVID-19 have raised workforce capacity concerns.

Finally, diversity among clinicians improves healthcare delivery. It serves people on Medicaid, the underinsured, and the uninsured. Online platforms create diverse healthcare teams and produce better care and patient outcomes. One example are sinusitis patients. They get the same quality measure using a digital tool as an in-person assessment visit. Big data and AI approaches can model crises by identifying and understanding the weaknesses of the existing systems.

Mobile technologies are being used in mass proportion to track quarantined people and trace exposed people in real-time—South Korea and Taiwan have done this. These tools will move into public health fields, and their support and understanding are vital in a unified global environment.

Healthcare Facility Infrastructure Changes

From a healthcare facility infrastructure standpoint, installation of touchless fixtures is becoming the norm. For example, touchless check-in services protect both the patients and staff, since there is no need for physical contact among onsite personnel or check-ins. From simple temperature guns to touchless displays, touchless faucets, and touchless sanitizer dispensers, such contact-free equipment is making the healthcare facility of the future safer for both patients and professionals.

A well-maintained system also reduces the spread of COVID-19 in indoor spaces by increasing the amount of outdoor air coming in, increasing the rate of air change, and reducing air recirculation.

Summing It Up

A strong healthcare sector ought to be person-centered, responsive and transparent. Priorities and focus points in facility management will change to align with the organization’s objectives. The current indicators and traditional ways of monitoring service partners and employees may need to be changed. These pandemic-induced changes may not be suitable for the health system or society worldwide, but they are unlikely to be reversed.

Derek Jones is vice president of enterprise strategy for the Americas at Deputy. Questions and comments can be directed to 24×7 Magazine chief editor Keri Forsythe-Stephens at editor@24x7mag.com.