There’s no doubt that the way we practice medicine as a society has changed over time, and it’s not showing any signs of stopping. Especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, patient care and office visits could start to look a little different.
Let’s dive into some changes we might see in the future of medicine.
As the pandemic has progressed, some practices have noticed a drop in outpatient visits by over 60% since the beginning of April.
Though many states are re-opening the doors to their businesses - medical practices included - the data shows that people are more hesitant to risk visiting a doctor’s office unless it is an absolute emergency.
This has led practitioners to draw the conclusion that in the future, patients may be more likely to stick to an annual check-up, rather than making an appointment with their doctor for smaller issues, especially ones that can be addressed virtually.
Overall, this will result in changes to how practices are run. Just like any other business, if a medical practice isn’t getting enough patients, they could end up making adjustments to different variables of their operations to save money. This could include aspects such as the number of days they’re open per week, or the number of hours they’re open per day.
As we mentioned before, virtual, or telemedicine doctor visits are becoming increasingly popular as the world has been dealing with COVID-19.
Over the years, the popularity of telemedicine has been increasing among patients, as the rest of their lives are becoming more and more digital as well. From online banking to remote-style work environments, people are often more willing to go for the option that requires the least personal interaction.
Despite this fact, doctors have resisted making the switch until the pandemic put them in a position where they had no other option but to hold virtual appointments.
Not only does using telemedicine services to see patients with low-grade health issues help keep patients safer by lowering the risk of transmission of infectious diseases, but also protects doctors and any other healthcare facility employees, like nurses, physician’s assistants, or administrative assistants.
One major shift that has been happening for many years and will continue to grow further is the switch to digitizing healthcare mediums. We’ve discussed telemedicine, but another aspect of this change is the digitization of medical records and healthcare systems used in medical practices.
Each day, more and more offices are making the switch from paper records to electronic health records (EHR). This shift is already creating a need for more digitally literate healthcare providers moving forward.
Looking to learn more about healthcare practice management, or any of the topics we discussed in this article? Check out the 99MGMT blog for more information!