Future of Health Care in the Era of COVID-19

Premier Pulse     July 2020

Reeves_HS_350x350By Matthew S. Reeves, DO, MBA, chief of integrated care, Premier Health

Acknowledging that we are nowhere near being out of the thick of COVID-19, there are some lessons learned and trends developing.

As with any stress/crisis, the best and the worst of us show up. With health care, we’ve realized tight capacity margins and unpreparedness on a national level.

Furthermore, the pandemic has forced the global health care system to embrace ways of doing business that we’ve sluggishly tried to implement for some time. Now, vast swaths of providers and patients have engaged in new means of providing health care that I think they’ll appreciate and want to continue. Until this change was forced upon them, patients and providers could not fully understand or accept that change.

For example, telehealth, especially in the outpatient setting, is changed forever. Patients will demand this ease of access. Providers are going to feel a relief from running the rat race to keep up by unloading some of the care to these more efficient models. Granted, limitations and possible abuse of telehealth is a reality. Patients may not accept or understand that not all moments of clinical value can occur remotely based on their desire for ease of access. Hopefully doctors will not acquiesce to inappropriate telehealth demands and desires from their patients. What is for certain though is that we have a provider shortage of severe magnitude, and telehealth is a woefully underutilized tool in our toolbox.

With great disruption comes the opportunity for great innovation and leadership. This will be a lesson learned from numerous perspectives – telehealth being just one illustration. When we look back on this time, it will be identified as the tipping point transforming our “sick-care” system to a “well-care” system. Out of necessity, new business models will develop that have greater vertical integration and collaboration across systems. Value creates volume. Those who get value right will see the volume.

The best of us is yet to come.

As always, I’m interested in your viewpoint. Feel free to reach out to me at msreeves@premierhealth.com or (812) 361-6876(812) 361-6876.

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