Human technology

Pandemic accelerates change in healthcare facilities

Low vaccination rates, human behavior, and viral mutations may mean COVID will never go away. That’s what many experts say, including OSF HealthCare COO Mike Cruz.

“We’re going to have more and more exhibits because we’re so easy to commute. I think it’s very likely that No. 1, we’re going to learn to live with this. And that this will be the last. for 100 more years? Probably not, ”said Cruz.

So far, Cruz said, there is a disconnect in the minds of many about the flu shot, childhood illnesses, and the COVID shot. He said it would help society cope with the disease if people can learn to broadly accept the need for regular COVID vaccinations.

According to Cruz, healthcare facilities will need to look different from what they currently do under endless COVID. Healthcare has traditionally not had the ability to quickly change its response time, staff expansion and contraction, and resilience due to strict regulatory and reimbursement structures, he said.

OSF HealthCare COO Mike Cruz.

“The answer, I believe – and we anticipate this – is how do you pick the right size when it reaches a steady state? And then how do we build in capabilities to expand and shrink with a lot of flexibility? said Cruz.

Cruz said increased technology and the delivery of remote care would help. He said even something as unusual as doctors remotely using robots with tactile feedback to physically examine patients could be in less than five to 10 years.

The pandemic has also proven to be disruptive for healthcare facilities beyond the provision of care. Cruz said healthcare staffing, lost profits and reimbursement structures were already strained before the pandemic, and COVID has accelerated the need for change.

“The future is always going to have a patient at the bedside requiring a lot of services. The question is, is the bed in the hospital? Is it at home? How many virtual components and technology to bring to the bedside? Because you don’t. is there no demand for this type of intensive care services, except for these once every 30-40 years, can we rotate service staff (to) bring AI technology at the bedside? Said Cruz.

Segmentation of care

Healthcare facilities have been engaged in segmentation in urban areas for decades, with one facility providing a particular service such as heart transplants, another providing cancer treatment, and another a burn unit. Segmentation is less pronounced in areas like central Illinois that have mid-sized communities, but even here there are specialties that require a patient to travel to Peoria or Urbana to find them.

Cruz said the pandemic will be a “push function” to accelerate existing trends.

“Some regionalization is probably going to have to happen because not everyone can afford to do this kind of high-end work. We already have some understanding of decentralization and regionalization of some services that would be needed. the pandemic there, we’re ‘We’re all swimming in it. You know, we’re going to have to have a certain level that we all have to have a basic level, there are some intense services that we just can’t provide,’ said Cruz.

“I think the workforce of the future will have to be different – we train, we educate… how do we use simulation AI to support services and to really empower the clinician of the future to do what they really need. So their time effort is really around their brain power and their skills, ”said Cruz.

The pandemic is also accelerating existing trends in the way money flows through the healthcare system.

“Think of Medicare Advantage, it’s a great example. Medicare vs. Medicare Advantage, the movement of the last five to 10 years has been truly impressive. It’s not going to turn around and go back. Is this a bad thing? No. Think about which patients do not have access to it or cannot afford these fees. If it is a coinsurance and a co-payment, you are hospitalized, ”said Cruz.

But at the end of the day, there will have to be a significant reconfiguration of who pays.

“You know, there’s medical toxicity, and there’s financial toxicity, and patients and payers are pushing. So it’s really going to force providers, hospitals, doctors, insurance companies and so on. following to say, are we going to be able to execute And how is this movement going to continue to happen because the employer-based model, while good, and excellent for a lot of us, and it was a great tool for going to work in a store that said, hey, these are benefits for the job, you can only make up for that long enough. And so the costs are going to be a pinch point, “said Cruz.

He said the federal government has a lot of control and say over how this is done. And this is tied to politics, which increases the level of uncertainty about what will happen and when.

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