The healthcare industry bore the brunt of the pandemic, and it will need to adapt and change to prepare for the next virus and the one after that. The COVID-19 pandemic has opened many new possibilities in terms of remote treatment and showed the entire world the importance of doctors and nurses alike. Lets have a look at how the healthcare industry is changing post COVID.
In the past, it was assumed that large industries like healthcare are simply too big to move quickly. The pandemic showed us all that is the furthest thing from the truth. Necessity was always the mother of invention, and our needs during the pandemic have already begun to shift the way that the healthcare industry operates.
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The Push for Higher Training
Even before the pandemic, there was a push to train doctors and even nurses to a higher degree. The push, however, can be seen more readily within the nursing profession. Many states took on a goal to have at least 80% of RNs holding a BSN by 2020. This trend is set to continue for APRNs. Soon having an MSN is not going to be enough. Soon a full DNP degree is going to become the recommendation.
This is in light of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) recommending that holding a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) should become the entry-level degree for nurse practitioners in just five years’ time.
The good news is that the education sector is already prepared, with several great online BSN to NP programs available that will allow you to become a DNP APRN in just a few short years without first earning your MSN.
This push is due to the advanced skills that you will earn with a DNP that you could not earn with an MSN alone. Earning an accelerated DNP means essentially earning an MSN and a DNP at once. The difference is that the DNP will allow nurses to play a larger role in their patient’s care. They can become leaders, they can teach other potential nurses, and they can also become patient advocates.
The Rise of Telehealth and Telemedicine
One of the most crucial ways that the healthcare industry changed and is set to continue developing is with the rise of telehealth. Many avoided clinics and hospitals alike because of the very real risk of catching the coronavirus once they were there. Because of this, new solutions were essential to care for these patients, even when they were in their own homes.
Considering how convenient and in the future how powerful telehealth or telemedicine can be, it is safe to say that this is a trend that is set to stay. It is, after all, one of the best ways to monitor the health of patients from afar and on an ongoing basis. It is also how a healthcare professional and a telemedicine physician can care for patients in remote areas.
The Potential of Big Data in Healthcare
Professionals have long understood why Big Data in healthcare can be such a powerful tool. It could connect healthcare professionals with a massive database that helps them understand even rare diseases and conditions better.
The previous issues with using the Big Data concept in healthcare does still exist. Privacy concerns and security concerns are two of the biggest issues that the healthcare industry deals with every day. Working to encrypt personal data so that information like symptoms and treatment results can be used on a grand scale is something that still needs to be worked on.
Once it is, however, it will mean greater diagnostic success. It will mean understanding health, health conditions, viruses, and more in greater detail. The goal of Big Data is for healthcare professionals around the world to have access and to give access to non-personal health information. This way, doctors and nurses can treat patients better, simply because there was more information to draw from both within the country and internationally.
Big Data is the future, but only after personal information can be easily extracted and can be safely shared. Even then, personal preferences must be taken into account. Though there are plenty of obstacles, however, the potential is astronomical, and the pandemic has put at ease many of the concerns regarding digital healthcare. In other words, it has caused a significant shift that could lead to Big Data being used in healthcare soon.
Decentralized Care is the Future
What decentralized care refers to is a push away from hospitals and clinics as primary care centers. These should be for emergencies and for when the equipment is too large or expensive to be located elsewhere.
Where care should occur is in the home. In the office. At churches and pharmacies. Decentralized healthcare puts healthcare where the patients are. It is, quite simply, where health itself happens.
Decentralized care is perfect to help larger populations get the care that they need. For example, some patients require regular weight measurements. If they do not have a professional one, they have to return to the clinic again and again. Assuming that patients should have the equipment at home is not the answer, giving patients more options to easily monitor their condition. In some cases, this will mean leasing out monitoring equipment to be kept in the home. In other instances, it will mean setting up small satellite areas where patients can do things like weigh themselves or even check their blood pressure.
What to Look Forward to In Healthcare
The nurses, doctors, and healthcare staff that have worked through the pandemic have become forged in fire. They are considered medicine’s greatest generation because of it. Not only have they lived through one of the most trying healthcare crises of our time, they also have a new range of skills that are sure to improve healthcare as an industry. Public communication, innovation, and data-driven decision-making are three of the ways that every nurse, doctor, and healthcare professional has improved outside of the traditional parameters of their job.
The future of healthcare is full of potential. The pandemic has caused the industry to innovate at impressive rates, and it has set the stage for new innovations that will hopefully help more patients regardless of who they are, the condition they live with, or where they are located.