COVID-19 pandemic hit the world with most baffling challenges of the century. It disrupted the regular work of most industries and so was the case with the hospital industry. Although patients were admitted to the hospital for COVID-19 treatments, but the non-COVID patients did not visit hospital even for their regular health check-ups or consultation or treatment/procedures. In fact in 2021, yet the hospital industry is finding it difficult to not just contain the virus but also maintain its economic viability. With this in the background the hospitals as an industry have made fantastic efforts to reassure patients that they take due safety precaution for their treatment or visit at the hospital.
The year 2020 has also witnessed better use of technology in care giving process by teleconsultation, and this should be leveraged going forward not just in 2021, but in future too, to ensure that patients can get consultation or care delivery with this system, so that emergency consultations, intercity consultations, international consultations or care deliveries are done quickly and smoothly. This would also mean adding up additional business for the hospitals. Additional services or upgrading the services can also be solution for hospitals for better business in 2021. Thus, assuring current and potential patients about their safety at hospital, use of the telemedicine and upgrading the systems can help hospitals in business revival.
The main expectation from 2021 for medical facilities is that, the policies, procedures, and entire healthcare delivery system should be working toward building the bridge of getting back to normal in all spheres of healthcare delivery.
Like 2019 and 2020 digitization should continue to contribute in the progress of hospital industry. Digitization of healthcare records, teleconsultation, telemedicine, use of AI, VR, are also catching up very fast and are being implemented in the industry. The care delivery by robots or robotic systems is another example. I think that the year 2021 will also be ruled by the digital care delivery process and IT will have a major contribution to it. Our hospital was one of the few early adopters of technology in the country. We have already started our process to make care delivery better. Our hospital has an indigenously developed medical record system. We have a fully integrated robotic system that performs surgery for various diseases. We are building new facilities that will be fully automated and digitized for faster and better outcomes in lab.
Hospital industry is a service industry which imparts care to patients. This care involves mostly personal care by all, doctors, nurses, attendants and other stake holders of the care giving process. Although, due to COVID-19 the doctor consultation was done remotely to a certain extent for the OPD patients yet most of the care was given by physical presence of the care givers. The admin staffs which could work remote and had no direct role in patient care were given work from home for a short time period and they too started coming to the hospital regularly as per government guidelines quite some time back. So in short, given the nature of our business, i.e. providing medical services and care to the patients, we as hospital would only be continuing with teleconsultation for patients if they need it and rest would be on premises care. But we are still working toward reskilling our workforce and making them more resilient toward any natural or health calamity.
While trying to get back to normalcy in 2021, the most important topic would be vaccination or getting every individual vaccinated in the community. With this the hospitals need to gear up with vaccination centres within the premises so that the rate and the percentage of people being vaccinated is much higher than others so that people at least have the immunity to fight against this deadly virus.
With the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic hitting the western countries, India and its hospitals also should not loosen up their set up and processes to provide treatment for COVID-19 patients.
In short for 2021:
- The hospital industry should continue their care giving process for COVID-19 patients.
- Assure patients about safety at the hospital in order to ensure their financial sustainability.
- Provide added preventive measures, like vaccination centers at hospital, to contain the spread of virus.
- Leverage technology in every aspect to provide better care.