By Dave Schweppe, Chief Analytics Officer, MedeAnalytics
Despite the common use of the term “post-COVID,” most leaders across the healthcare industry have come to terms with the fact that COVID-19 is not going away. Though we will not be in a pandemic state forever, many of the resulting changes will continue to pervade and impact the way care is developed, delivered, utilized and managed.
We will keep seeing more….
1. Immunization against coronaviruses
We are likely to see yearly COVID shots become the norm, similar to our annual influenza shots.
2. Shifts in how care is accessed
Even after a return to face-to-face care, virtual options have remained popular and necessary. This trend has driven new partnerships and technologies throughout the industry.
3. Focus on behavioral health
The isolation, trauma and stress that accompanied late 2019 to the present day will have a decades-long effect on mental health. Accessible services are both important and imperative.
4. Evolution in the model for clinical quality measurement and trends
2020 had a drastic effect on basic metrics, outcomes and benchmarks, and organizations will need to determine how to use, contextualize and compare those numbers—or whether to ignore them altogether.
5. Urgent prioritization of social drivers of health
Payers and providers alike are finally tuning in to the importance of social and environmental factors. Zip code just may be the best predictor and descriptor of a patient’s health status right now, but that does not have to—and shouldn’t—be the case forever.
6. Technology as triage
Wearables like Apple Watches are measuring and reporting oxygen levels. Diabetes monitors are automatically triggering alerts to family members or clinicians when blood sugar levels dip too low. AI algorithms are evaluating photos of moles and reading breast cancer screenings. These are just a few examples of the vast ways technology is increasingly transforming how we triage patients and get them the right care.
We need to start engaging in a new Rx for success
So, how do we grow from this? How do we create and implement an approach to care that considers all these changes and needs? It won’t be perfect immediately (or ever), but the process will teach us how to grow and improve. Now is not the time to wait for an answer; it is the time to recover and rebuild by innovating and iterating.
Healthcare organizations must invest in and rely on flexible, adaptable data analytics to understand the landscape, respond efficiently, and make the best decisions.
I’ll show you an example to demonstrate:
As I noted above, the pandemic spurred a heightened focus on accessible, affordable behavioral care. At the start of 2020, 95% of behavioral care was delivered face-to-face—but by April of the same year, only 5% was delivered face-to-face. This means almost everyone pivoted to virtual platforms.
By digging into virtual behavioral care data analytics, payers and providers found that clinicians could still effectively use mental health diagnostic tools, and patients were consistently reporting high satisfaction. This is encouraging news because we saw a high volume of virtual visits for behavioral needs into late 2021. Employers, clinicians, health plans and communities can feel confident that remote patients are getting top-of-the-line support.
We can use data to open doors
Milton Berle once said, “if opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” I would add, “then use data analytics to open that door and guide the path forward!” That would make a fantastic motto for post-pandemic restoration and rejuvenation across the healthcare industry.
If you’re ready to start using data to open doors, get in touch with our experts here at MedeAnalytics. We’re excited to hear where you’re headed and explore how our tools can help.
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