The COVID ‐19 pandemic has massively impacted our society since its onset. It brought the world to a halt and has changed the way communities interact with each other. While the business and economic aspects changed globally, the field of medical physics has also not been any exception. The medical and healthcare turf has experienced significant changes, with remote working becoming the new norm. There has been an increasing reliance on technology, workflow modifications, and even upgrades in safety protocols. However, all this has only led to quality patient care with improved satisfaction. It also became evident that our healthcare systems were not designed to deal with the COVID crisis. The whole thing came as a large-scale health challenge.
All in all, the entire healthcare industry stood up to the challenge. It has seen an impressive journey of evolution and transformation. Here are the major changes that took place during the pandemic:
New Products in the Healthcare market
The healthcare industry stood up to the COVID-19 challenge and demonstrated its resilience in the wake of the pandemic. There was a large-scale collaboration in the industry between the hospitals, medical professionals and scientists. This led to the creation of a healthcare delivery infrastructure to serve our large population in the cities and the villages alike. Everyone got together to manufacture and distribute new healthcare products like N95 masks, PPE Kits, ventilators, and hand sanitizers.
Improving national healthcare infrastructure
The country, as well as the medical fraternity, realized the importance of higher budget allocation for improving the healthcare infrastructure in the country. The COVID-19 pandemic made it clear that a robust healthcare infrastructure was necessary. It called for increased investment in healthcare infrastructure, like initiating national-level programs for skill development and increasing the number of medical colleges. As a quick resolution, the industry realized the need to train healthcare staff, create effective PPP models and provide impetus to local manufacturing of masks, vaccines, and PPE kits.
Enhancing Research and Development
The pandemic forced us to realize the importance of research and development in the pharma sector. The need to support higher incentives for research & development and manufacture of innovative products like vaccines and low-cost medication came to the highlight.
Digital Health Services
With lockdown imposed nationwide for most parts of the year, Digital Health services became popular during the pandemic. Most hospitals and health care centers that generally stayed away from digitization expanded and supported digital healthcare. This was seen across all primary and secondary healthcare centers. Dr. Trehan, the CEO and MD of Medanta Medicity, Gurgaon, emphasized using diagnostic devices such as electronic blood pressure monitors, electronic stethoscope, and the SPO2 monitor. These devices became popular and available in the market in the past 3-4 months. They helped to track patients remotely.
Power of Telemedicine
The pandemic has witnessed how our healthcare system gradually incorporated telemedicine, Information technology and AI to simplify things. Patients were able to access doctors from home following social distancing norms. Dr. Trehan, in one of his interviews, told that earlier, while Medanta had just about 100 video consultations in a day. This number rose to a whopping 500 consults daily.
Overall, the COVID pandemic improved the public respect for the medical fraternity as they rose to the challenge led by their call to duty.