Having the right data just a click away can help your organization find the right path forward.
Before the advent of COVID-19, health care organizations (HCOs) were reporting that their use of data analytics was negligible. As recently as January 2020, a Black Book survey found that 80% of HCO leaders fell into that category, although 95% of hospitals and physician group executives reported having access to data analytics applications.
Now more than ever, the health care industry should be relying on analytics in order to survive and thrive. To inform decision-making and improve performance, HCO leaders need actionable data gathered and harmonized from all areas of their operations.
Whatever form the “next normal” takes, it almost certainly will look vastly different than both the pre-COVID normal and the current normal. It’s likely that HCOs will be expected to act faster and more flexibly, while rapidly adopting virtual care technologies such as remote patient monitoring (RPM) and telemedicine. Having the right data just a click away will be invaluable when implementing and promoting these new modalities.
Reduced Revenue and Increased Costs
During the COVID-19 pandemic, hospitals have been faced with four major financial challenges, outlined by the American Hospital Association back in May, along with estimated losses between March and June. Those include:
- The effect of COVID-19 hospitalizations on overall hospital costs: The AHA estimated that the total four-month (March to June) financial impact for American HCOs would be $202.6 billion in losses, or an average of $50.7 billion per month. According to the AHA, the estimated net financial impact of COVID-19 hospitalizations during the same period would be a loss of $36.6 billion for treating COVID-19 patients alone.
- The cost of obtaining personal protective equipment (PPE): The number, AHA said, was estimated at $2.4 billion.
- The financial effect of canceled and postponed non-COVID services: Over the four months, the cancellation of elective surgeries and other services like outpatient treatment cost approximately $161.4 billion in revenue, according to the AHA.
- Costs associated with hospital worker support: This includes medical screening and COVID-19 treatment for frontline workers, as well as child care, housing, and more. The AHA estimated the cost of support in COVID-19 hotspots to be $2.2 billion through the end of June (just under $550 million per month).
These numbers don’t include the costs of ongoing drug shortages, wages and salaries (including overtime and bonuses for frontline workers), and non-PPE equipment and supplies, as well as capital costs for increasing treatment capacity to accommodate COVID-19-related testing and treatment.
Chronic Condition Management
Prioritizing preventive care and replacing some in-person appointments with more efficient and convenient modalities like telemedicine can lead to better access to care and clinical improvements in chronic condition care. Patients who would typically be admitted could be monitored at home instead, freeing up ED and hospital beds, and offering patients additional channels to access care.
No matter what the next normal looks like, agility will be imperative.
The pandemic is likely to profoundly reshape the health care industry, adjusting expectations and needs across the board — from patients to providers to leadership. Other changes may include the need to shift care into the virtual realm to more easily scale care capacity across locations up or down as necessary.
Providers must be ready for financial challenges, balancing the need to quickly mobilize care capacity with the possibility of the virus (and shutdowns) returning in force. In other words, HCOs may have to fundamentally reimagine a much more agile service model, not an easy task.
Putting telehealth on the fast track may be part of a long-term, sustainable new normal. A faster shift to this relatively new care model can focus on teletriage and the transition of care needs post-ED, that is, freeing up hospital capacity by providing in-home post-acute care follow-up.
In order to stay agile, HCOs will need complete, accurate, and trustworthy data, which gives them the ability to understand and document the impact of a pandemic and other disruptions that affect:
- ED crowding
- Hospital utilization
- Patient throughput
- Clinician, bed, drug and supply demand
To see exactly how d2i can help put your data to work and help your team prepare for its new normal, contact us for more information, or request a demo with one of our emergency medicine analytics experts.