The COVID-19 pandemic is probably the deadliest pandemic that the world has faced in the last 100 years. Apart from taking millions of lives across the world, this lethal pandemic has also changed the operational and financial intricacies of the healthcare sector.
Like every other domain, the radiology sector has received a hard blow from the pandemic. Joshua M. Liao, MD, with the University of Washington’s Department of Medicine in Seattle, has recommended that the radiology sector must address the crisis strategically. Here are some of the aspects that the sector must consider to overcome the situation and go back to the new normal.
1.Decision Making of the Patients
Even though the pandemic has hit the world hard, other ailments have not gone down in the number of intensity by any means. The COVID-19 pandemic has only added to the already existing number of diseases and health issues. For example, people with malignancy in the liver or blood are still suffering from the problems with the terror of the pandemic infection looming around the corner.
In a nutshell, the pandemic has only aggravated the healthcare emergency and has not replaced any of the earlier diseases. But, the very nature of the Coronavirus has pushed people behind their doors, and no one is ready to come out even for the treatment of their regular health complications.
People, suffering from critical ailments, are not going for their regular checkups and treatment session to avoid exposure to the virus. But this is no way going to help the patients to improve. Even though the strict lockdown process has been lifted in many countries, people are not returning to their normal movement anyway.
According to Liao, even though the doors of the radiology centers and the clinics have opened once again for the public, the influx of patients does not match the numbers of the past. Since people are not feeling confident enough to approach the facilities, Liao has further suggested the facilities to gear up with all that is necessary to stand by the patients.
He has also recommended the adoption of schemes like nudge intervention that can help improve imaging-based cancer screening.
Another sector that the COVID-19 pandemic has hit hard is the economic sector. With all people restricted from communication from one place to another, all the production centers have suffered an unprecedented loss over the last few months. This has pushed the economies down into the depth of the recession.
This downward movement of the economy graphs has left plenty of people jobless across the world. In the USA, several people have lost their jobs as well. When it comes to healthcare, employers often carry the lion’s share of the insurance coverage of the employees. Owing to the pandemic, people who have lost their employment are no longer enjoying this facility.
Hence, most of the insurance payments have now become their liability. With no steady income guaranteed, people are shying away from the insurance schemes like never before. Also, it is the market volatility that is repelling people from opting for any insurance policy at all.
Given the scenario, the radiology service providers must understand the gravity of the situation and the American people’s psychology before making any decision. Most importantly, the facilities must comprehend the financial crisis the pandemic has created.
Hence, the radiology centers should develop strategies and ideas that will not go against the interest of the people. There is no doubt that the anticipated volume of the sector and the financial projections of the radiology units are sure to suffer a setback for the time being. But if the sector has to overcome the challenges, apt strategies are what it would need.
The healthcare sector has always depended on patient volumes. The pandemic has only established the fact once again. The only difference it made this time is that the pandemic proved it by curtailing a considerable business share for the entire healthcare sector.
The fear of contamination has substantially taxed the footfall of the patients in the radiology centers. Economic volatility has also compelled people to rearrange their budgets, allocating fewer resources to regular health checkups. People are now concentrating more on keeping the money safe for emergencies.
Hence, the regular income curve of the radiology sector has gone down. Hence, cost-based payment structures and long term rads would be a better option for the sector to stay afloat through the high tides. Providers, who will use value-based options, will be in a better situation in the long run.
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