Since 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced the entire world to adapt to new health regulations. In the case of healthcare providers, these changes have gone even deeper and aren’t going away with the virus.
On the contrary, healthcare providers will need to be accustomed to certain health mandates that were established during the COVID breakout and will undoubtedly remain. This will require changing processes, updating tools, and implementing new technologies.
If you are an owner, manager, or administrator at any healthcare facility, take a look at these three mandates that are here to stay and understand how they will impact the healthcare industry long term.
- Required Vaccinations
Healthcare professionals are daily exposed to the risk of contracting serious illnesses – whether working directly with patients or handling contaminated materials.
Currently, the following vaccines are recommended for physicians, nurses, laboratory technicians, volunteers, and other health professionals:
- Flu/Influenza (annually)
- Hepatitis B
- MMR (Measles, Mumps, & Rubella)
- Chickenpox (Chickenpox)
- TDAP (Tetanus, Diphtheria, Pertussis)
Everything indicates that a new one will be added to the vaccine against COVID-19. Right now, the issue is controversial. In November 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) required COVID-19 vaccination for workers at health care facilities who participate in their programs.
But a series of litigation has caused each state to decide whether this vaccine would be mandatory or not. Check the current regulations in your state to find out what to do. Whatever the case, it’s very likely that the annual vaccination against COVID-19 is here to stay.
- Meeting the Patients Halfway
In the most dramatic moments of the pandemic, the COVID-19 forced medical professionals to meet their patients halfway, rather than in a traditional medical facility like a hospital or clinic.
The lesson was learned: from now on, you need to find the patients wherever they are and whenever they need care. The following alternative care models should be maintained:
Community Pop-up Locations
Pop-up clinics set up in different parts of cities (parking lots, recreation centers, and even churches) have proven that the health system can benefit from a more agile format. It was possible to bring emergency care, testing, and vaccinations to more people during the pandemic through these instant clinics. Many healthcare professionals intend to keep the format for vaccination campaigns or testing.
Adapting the drive-thru format used by fast-food restaurants, healthcare professionals have created the easy experience of delivering tests and vaccines en masse and without the need for the patient to leave their car. Recently, some clinics have used the drive-thru format to perform blood tests on patients taking anticoagulants.
Until the 1980s, home visits by doctors were a common practice. Now the tradition returned with the COVID-19, and it was modernized to suit the new times. Vehicles with high-tech mobile care units visit the homes of people at risk to monitor their clinical condition and perform exams. In some cases, these mobile doctors and nurses are prepared to treat injuries and even symptoms of serious illness.
- Digitized Care
When data needs to be processed quickly and changed at the same speed, healthcare processes need to incorporate electronic and technological tools.
One of the most notable changes was the increased use of telehealth, which provided medical appointments remotely through computers or smartphones. In 2019, just before the pandemic, only 11% of patients were using these tools; in April 2020, however, the percentage rose to 46 percent.
The fear of patients presenting themselves in person at a hospital or clinic motivated this transformation, which should continue for some time.
Another technological advance that should make life easier for everyone (patients and healthcare professionals alike) is the fact that medical records are becoming digital. In the recent past, access to digital information was hampered by a series of bureaucratic obstacles.
Thanks to the pandemic and the 21st Century Cures Act; more information can be accessed and requested digitally today. The change will make health services better and more efficient. Learn about the 21st Century Cures Act and modernize your processes as soon as possible.
Be Prepared for the Changes
By chance, the present time is not being called “The New Normal.” We will all be forced to live with some changes that the health crisis has brought about in our daily lives.
And this will be mandatory for healthcare professionals, as their patients expect that certain processes that emerged during the pandemic will be maintained from now on. Many of them are still afraid to go to a clinic or hospital in person.
Take advantage of the “new normal” as a great opportunity to modernize and improve your patients’ experience, offering new remote services and more efficient digital tools.