How Will Post-Pandemic Healthcare Be Different?

by Kroger Health Staff

Last Updated: May 13, 2020

Overnight, there seemed to be only one topic in healthcare that mattered: COVID-19. Suddenly, healthcare organizations all over the globe were racing to create solutions and offer options that would help combat the spread and severity of the virus. As a result, we saw several innovations come to fruition that will serve important purposes during COVID-19 and beyond.
  1. Increased use of virtual care.
    The American Academy of Physicians reports that as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have waived the two main restrictions that have typically applied to the provision of telehealth services. Geography limitations previously limited the use of telehealth to those who were residing in rural areas where care was often not available. Originating site limitations typically mandated the setting in which patients received care, often limiting that setting to a doctor’s office or a hospital. The removal of these limitations greatly increases the likelihood that anyone- regardless of where they live or their ability to get to a medical facility- may have the option to receive virtual care. Combined with the fact that 59% of consumers now report they are more likely to use telehealth than prior to the crisis, it’s safe to say that virtual care may be here to stay.
  2. Heightened awareness of immunity health.
    Every fall, we start to see messaging around immunity, flu shots, and cold remedies populate our social feeds and punctuate our media outlets. But for many people, this is yet another preventative health message that’s tuned out. Consumers either don’t believe they’re at risk, or would rather stick to their existing habits and run the risk of being sick for a few days. Now that the entire world has experienced what can happen when diseases run amok, the vibe has changed. Google Trends data shows that searches for “Vitamins For Immune Health” have increased 450% since the pandemic, and for the first time since the inception of the ‘natural’ and ‘sustainable’ mega-trends, immunity claims have surpassed both in consumer’s minds as the most important claim on home care products. The global populus is asking one question, loud and clear- how can I keep myself and my family healthy?
  3. Changes towards acceptance of vaccines.
    It’s no secret that in recent years, there has been public controversy and debate about the safety and desirability of childhood vaccinations. While the CDC and other regulatory bodies continue to offer strong science to support the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, rates of childhood vaccination have been declining in some areas, and anti-vaccination influence has grown in some circles. As we are now faced with a pandemic that is stalling our economies and personal lives, preliminary survey data has shown that as the number of deaths from COVID-19 increase, people are more willing to accept a vaccine. Much more data is needed to track responses overtime, and it’s reasonable to expect that sentiments can continue to change as the situation evolves.

One of the potential silver linings of this crisis is the shifting of priorities and perspectives around health and healthcare. The increased focus brought about by a pandemic of this scale has enabled both providers and patients to see very clearly what stands to be gained by having more access to care, more focus on wellness, and a deeper understanding of community health and herd immunity. While we hope to eliminate COVID-19 swiftly, we also hope to preserve the innovation to which it has given way for years to come.

Disclaimer: The information in this story is accurate as of its publication. However, the situation surrounding COVID-19 is ever-evolving. We are working to keep our stories up-to-date as changes occur, but we also encourage everyone to check news and recommendations from the CDC, WHO, and their local authorities.