There is no denying that COVID-19 has strongly accelerated changes in consumer behavior in the last two years. These changes have in turn fuelled a remodeling of the healthcare system. Survey data have revealed insights regarding healthcare services used by consumers during the pandemic, including telehealth, in-home care, and other non-traditional care modules. Interestingly, the healthcare industry has closely monitored consumer behaviors and implemented the findings in designing a more consumer-centric healthcare delivery model as the pandemic abates.
Changes in consumer behavior
Over the last two years, consumers have started showing a change in sentiment. They are looking at alternate modes of treatment and exploring platforms to get care from the convenience of home. The striking behavioral patterns among consumers in the last two years include –
- Fewer hospital visits
- Fear of visiting hospitals citing infection risk as to the highest deterrent
- Avoiding hospitals that treat COVID-19 patients
- Going to hospitals that treat COVID-19 patients in separate wings
However, what has emerged as the most phenomenal change in consumer behavior is the preference for telemedicine. Preference is also noted for online doctor consultations to avoid hospital visits. Consumer preference has shifted towards home-care settings across consultation, diagnostics, day-care services, and in-patient care.
The move towards seeking healthcare from home has led to an increase in the usage of telemedicine or online doctor consultations across specialties. Important reasons cited by consumers across the world for their preference towards telemedicine include savings and the best handy solution that is effective and trustworthy. In addition to this, consumers also mentioned reasons like data privacy, confidentiality, and security as their reasons to opt for telemedicine. It has also been seen that consumers mainly accessed telemedicine in specialties like-
- General medicine
- Mental health
- Pain management
A panel of highly experienced General Physicians in Delhi is onboard DocGenie. Our GPs are ready to offer online doctor consultations helping you access medical care without venturing out.
Changes in the Healthcare system
Industry experts opine that consumer openness towards out-of-hospital and at-home services across healthcare has shot up significantly during the pandemic. This change in consumer behavior has resulted in clear indications of how healthcare is administered. In the course at home, healthcare emerged to be the big winner.
Healthcare is now well-positioned to provide home care to get back those who have postponed care during the last two years. The belief that being able to receive care at home, through online consultation and telemedicine is making them reschedule care. Survey findings indicate that the healthcare delivery system is becoming particularly robust in providing telehealth for domains like mental health, general medicine, OB/GYN, and pediatrics. At DocGenie, we have a band of highly skilled doctors ready to help you through online doctor consultations. Booking an online session with our doctors will get you timely intervention while saving you from waiting at clinics.
Presently healthcare providers are assessing the at-home care strategies. They are busy identifying opportunities to enhance the use of channels like virtual consultation and telemedicine. They are aiming to reach out to more consumers and provide care in a more budgeted way. This, the stakeholders of the healthcare industry believe, will have a positive impact on the general health and wellness of people across geographies.
Healthcare providers are also concentrating on determining the conditions for which virtual visits make the most sense and also for which patients. They are taking into consideration factors like-
- Consumer likings
- Readiness among definite groups in terms of age, race,
- Insurance type
- Health condition
Providers across the world are also ramping up telemedicine service platforms and are digitally upskilling their healthcare providers.
It is being said that the increasing consumer interest in telemedicine, is going to trigger long-term trends like a home collection of lab-test samples and home delivery of drugs. Accordingly, the existing healthcare system is developing its capabilities toward non-traditional modes of medical care delivery. More and more people now prefer the home collection of samples over visiting a lab during COVID-19. Hence, diagnostics centers are scaling up their capabilities for home collection, augmenting last-mile connectivity and expanding home collection networks.
Providers are also ensuring that services are offered at a price that is affordable for large sections of society and that data security is ensured. This shows the need for providers to put adequate data protection systems in place.
While designing new-age service delivery, healthcare providers are also incorporating consumer expectations on safety from at-home providers. These include the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by staff, hygiene and cleanliness, adherence to emergency management practices, and vaccine certifications.
Here are some of the emerging trends in healthcare service delivery post-pandemic –
- Home health care to emerge as an essential cog of hospitals and independent start-ups
- Home health care to become a clubbed offering from hospitals and start-ups
- Demand for at-home healthcare increases in cities having more elderly population
- At-home-care coverage to come under health insurance
- A long-term engagement with consumers who develop trust and comfort with the providers.
The leading players in this field are already leveraging these trends and are coming out with advanced tech-enabled solutions. The time has come for healthcare service providers to become more integrated, where they provide multiple services and offer consumers the care they need.
DocGenie is an online telemedicine platform that provides you with quality healthcare from the comfort of your own space. On DocGenie, you can book an online consultation with highly qualified doctors as well as book lab tests for home collection.