COVID -19 has affected all lives across the globe. There is no industry that didn’t witness its impact. Thanks to our ‘Healthcare Heroes – The COVID Warriors’ who are trying to save lives from this deadly virus, day and night. With endless work hours and usage of protective gear i.e. PPE kits their job has become much difficult now. Besides the physical discomfort, these healthcare workers are also facing social discrimination.
Even those who are not working in COVID-wards and belong to other medical specialties like dermatology, dentistry, plastic surgery, ophthalmology, urology, neurology, etc. are witnessing major challenges to run their individually owned practices.
The effects that one can observe in the healthcare sector today and will continue to see for at least a couple of years include:
- No Long Queues
Before COVID-19, the long queues of the patients for OPD and consulting at least 200-250 patients a day were usual for any good healthcare practice. But unfortunately, similar practices will notice a drastic change post-COVID-19 and these practices will be affected the most.
Practices with a large number of patients will require to replace their old operational methods. Adapting to the tele-counseling/ consultation is one such example.
- Time will be given more importance than before
Adherence to the consultation/appointment timings has always been a major challenge, especially in India. Now, the clinics and hospitals will have to be strict about the consultation timings. They will have to discourage walk-in patients (unless an emergency case).
Since this pandemic has hit at a time when most practices are still dependent on manual operations, this has become a challenging situation. Many practices have still not digitalized themselves and are not using any secured software solutions to manage their practice. As the virus can spread through the infected objects, it is the need of the hour to minimize the paper-work.
In the (very few) clinics/hospitals where the software solutions are installed, due to the lack of training and efficiency of the staff, they are not able to utilize them successfully. Machines and digital means are of no use unless we learn to feed proper information and store it for future reference.
- Infrastructure & Technology implementation in the clinic
Now, most of the time and energy will go towards managing the safety of patients. Practices will require quick technical solutions to collect the information to save time and effort. Manual monitoring of patient data, billing, appointments, and other clinical records has become more difficult. Only those who quickly adapt to the changes in their day to day operations will be able to run profitably.
Single specialty, multispecialty, and polyclinics would require secure and custom software solutions for managing operational needs.
- Online visibility will be more important
Digitalization is more crucial now than ever before!
Traditional means of healthcare marketing like word of mouth will eventually vanish. Walk-ins will also be discouraged.
So, now the digital media will play a rather more important role in connecting with prospective patients & clients. One needs to get more visibility across different platforms on the internet. The clients need to know everything about you and your brand. Going online (especially social media) may seem to be easy but it is not so easy. Building a brand identity and reputation needs the right strategy from the start. So, one might need to take help from digital marketing companies.
Now, it is high time to utilize whatever free time you have to brainstorm on future strategies to upscale your healthcare brand. The current COVID-19 situation will not change overnight but it will change for sure. So, you will have to have your plans in place.
Nothing can be achieved overnight. Create your exclusive digital marketing strategies and execute them one after another.
These action points will help you get started:
- Start by updating your CV first.
- Write about yourself and practice.
- Find a digital marketer to help you with the strategy.
- Build a website that describes you and your services.
- Improve your visibility on search engines including Google.
- Create social profiles and update everything
- Doctor-Patient Relationship
The doctor-patient relationship has always been very important. But, now because of the COVID-19 outbreak, everyone is feeling more vulnerable. So, the doctors must show genuine concerns and understand their patients’ needs/concerns. They should help the patients in understanding the services offered at the clinic/hospital and create custom treatments based on their needs. The ’emotional connect’ is the need of the hour.
- Change in the process – Holistic Approach
Individuals are now prioritizing internal health & fitness. Clinics and hospitals will implement a holistic approach to healthcare in the near future to be able to cater to all the needs under one roof.
- Window Shopping
Many patients visit multiple clinics and hospitals to gather information and ensure the lowest cost and services that are being provided. Now, patients will start enquiring more online and discuss most of the information online.
Hence, given the present status of financial motion, there are tremendous difficulties in revitalizing the economy, getting the medical care framework into post-emergency mode, and using scant assets all the more effectively.
The author is Co-Founder & CEO of DigiLantern & LanternMeds