The COVID-19 outbreak has had a profound impact on healthcare. Across the U.S., hospitals have been converted to COVID-19 treatment centers, and elective procedures have been put on hold by government mandate. Although CARES Act funds will help health systems weather the storm to some extent, there will ultimately be a shortfall. This underscores the urgency to find new sources of revenue.
As health systems explore new revenue streams, it is critical to bear in mind that care delivery will look quite different in the new reality. Consumer expectations that were building before the outbreak have now accelerated.
Specifically, there will be a move away from traditional sites of service, a major uptick in virtual care, and new uses of technology to improve the patient experience—all of which should underpin healthcare organizations’ forward-reaching growth strategies.
- New sites of service: During COVID-19, patients have utilized retail and urgent care for more accessible and lower-risk COVID-19 infection and antibody testing, as well as treatment for non-COVID-related illnesses. Going forward, health systems should continue to offer patients flexibility by exploring ways to integrate their services with lower-cost, more convenient care delivery models.
- Major shift to virtual health: Since the onset of COVID-19, virtual care has been a critical component in the effort to flatten the curve. Since both patients and medical practitioners have become increasingly comfortable using virtual health technologies, there will be pressure on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to lift certain restrictions and expand covered services after the outbreak is over. Virtual care is likely to grow both as a stand-alone offering and a means to serve a larger volume of patients as hospitals acquire smaller entities.
- Technology-enabled patient experiences: Even before COVID-19, healthcare organizations were exploring partnerships with leading technology companies to expand capabilities and services, particularly in the area of consumer analytics. Going forward, healthcare organizations should be more proactive about partnering with technology leaders that can help them provide patients with a more seamless experience that aligns with their preferences coming out of the pandemic.
In this paper, we seek to help healthcare organizations refine their growth strategies by subsector and narrow in on where and how to play based on alignment with their particular capabilities and growth objectives. Ultimately, companies with capital, agility, and well-calculated strategies will be able to effectively shape their post COVID-19 futures and position themselves to win in the new reality.