After the doctor’s office and the hospital, where healthcare is traditionally delivered, healthcare is now being delivered at a “third place” — wherever the patient happens to be. The “third place” is both everyplace and no place. From hospitals, the healthcare will move to ‘home-itals’.
In a world that could be known as “After-Covid-2019”, we will see technology playing an enhanced role driven by reshaping of consumer behavior due to surprisingly pleasant experience with technology after being sort of ‘forced’ to use it. The underlying theme of the technological transformation will revolve around creating business models for a ‘less-contact’ society – a concept that will be etched in the collective memory of our society. Consumers are ready -- in a survey conducted by a leading health magazine, more than 80% of its readers believed that the outbreak of Covid-19 will help speed up the adoption of digital tools. Consumers want convenience – they have tried, experienced, and enjoyed the convenience that technology offers, and now they only will ask for more. Consumers have realized the digital solutions are not a compromise – they are different but effective. Legal framework exists – it has been recently notified by Government of India which legalizes tele-medicine.
No longer the reach and ability to serve would be limited by a physical presence – digital solutions like audio / video consultation can overcome many, not if all, such barriers. And to supplement the consultations, hospitals shall invest in developing capabilities to provide comprehensive services at patient’s home or place. These services would include home collection of samples, delivery of medicines and provision of clinical services. Customers would expect such services, and hospitals would have to gear up to deliver these.
We also foresee healthcare providers taking steps to integrate tele-medicine and virtual health into end-to-end patient care pathways – e.g. care pathways which avoids hospital visits but without loss of revenue to hospital and saves time and money to the patients. The focus can be on
different patient cohorts such as post-discharge cases, patients suffering from chronic ailments, patients ailing from mental health issues.
Beyond current pathways, tele-health concept would be woven into new products and services as well. For example, Amazon has launched Amazon.care – which combines the best of both virtual and in-patient care. It combines the concept of digital first services where first port of call is video call or a text chat with care providers. In case a physical examination or a home visit is required, a mobile nurse is dispatched to office / home. They come prepared with things needed for the visit. Prescribed medicines are dispatched to office / home by a delivery courier. For the services, Amazon has tied up with a medical care organization to deliver the services