The COVID-19 pandemic has transformed our personal as well as professional lives like never before. The healthcare industry has not been far from upshots. Commonly referred to as the medical industry, this industry is a pool of various industrial sectors that focus on providing services centring on health treatments with curative, rehabilitative, preventive as well as palliative care. Besides just the clinical facets, the healthcare sector is inclusive of goods and services that contribute to healthcare even partially. In other words, the global healthcare industry is inter-disciplinary, with miscellaneous goods and services from many sectors. 

But How Did It Impact the Healthcare Sector?

While you must be thinking that the pandemic demanded more and better healthcare services, giving rise to more business opportunities, what will be the negative impacts on the industry?

The fact is, the global population is increasing, as and when the innovations in global technology are climbing up the ladder, as and how the globe is advancing in terms of technology and facilities, one should not forget the fact the number of health-related problems is also rising, owing to either the sophisticated or the pitiful lifestyle of people all over the world. Every year, there are many new types of ailments being found and many variants of an existing virus or bacteria posing a threat to people. The increasing traffic and the fantasies of rash driving, drink, and drive, etc., is contributing to the rampant hike in the number of accidents that occur daily. Sexual assaults on men and women and many other crimes are also on the radar, placing a significant demand for better healthcare facilities all around the world. Natural calamities are depriving the vulnerable of basic amenities, leading to numerous health problems in large numbers.

Henceforth the list goes without an end, emphasizing the relevance of the healthcare industry. 

2020 has been a black mark on all the calendars worldwide, with the massive outbreak of the Covid – 19 pandemic. The pandemic has undoubtedly affected almost all sectors and sections of society. However, the healthcare industry faced its major challenge this year. With the most abrupt outbreak of the virus and accelerated death rates globally, the healthcare sector had to function expeditiously than ever before. Right from the house-cleaning staff of the hospitals to the industries manufacturing the Covid vaccinations all across the globe, have been keenly instrumental in battling the devil. The nurses, ward-boys, ambulance drivers, doctors, health inspectors, laboratory technicians, clinical instrument providers, the medical mask manufacturers, oxygen cylinder manufacturers, researchers, and all the other healthcare sector workers had been faced with the most challenging phases of their lives so far.  

Developments and Changes That Brought New Requirements Across the Sector 

The year has also observed significant developments and changes in the healthcare sector in terms of the costs, patient demographics, consumer expectations that never went down. However, the new market-holders with fresh products and services saw a big bloom because the requirements worldwide were on a large scale than ever expected. There was a vast space for innovations and inventions in terms of both technology and medicine.

But, wait – there’s more!

With all the sub-niches of the healthcare industry put to work and their functioning being simultaneous and coordinated with each other, the industry has seen a smart health ecosystem.

  • Year of the greater consumer influence: The year 2020 can also be termed as the “year of the consumer” or “the year of the greater consumer influence,” as the Deloitte statistics say. All the Covid test centres, ICUs prepped up to receive patients, ventilators, 24/7 pharmacy services catering to the needs of the public, ambulance services, Covid online and offline help-centres have also fetched considerable revenue to the healthcare sector than usual. However, there were losses incurred for many regular small-scale clinics and dispensaries that had to remain shut due to the doctors being assigned duties in the Covid wards. On the other hand, the pharmacies have been successful in attracting huge revenues since health was a major spot of concern for the whole global population. One could tell that the healthcare sector has been on fire during the pandemic. 
  • A new, holistic position of the healthcare industry: On the contrary, taking a glance at the holistic position of the healthcare industry before the pandemic, the healthcare sector was functioning n a moderate pace, catering to the recurring problems and challenges associated with healthcare. The element of “ready for emergencies” was very limited or even nil. There was always a considerate amount of negligence in many hospitals, either shown by the doctors or the assisting staff. There was never an overflow of patients into a hospital or clinic except for the times of war or calamities. There wasn’t really a turmoil brought about in the sector, questioning and challenging its functioning and innovations until the pandemic breakout that just set in as a red alert. Another vital aspect to be brought into notice is the coordination between the sub-units of the global healthcare industry, associations between states, and countries, etc., that were immersed in depths before the Covid outbreak. There was always competition amongst the major stakeholders of the niche. However, the pandemic has opened a broad pathway for collaborations and joint advancements in the medical field. 

Challenges and Transformation Across the Healthcare Sector

Considering all these notable factors, post the whole pandemic situation coming to an end, the global healthcare sector seems to undergo a huge transformation, getting prepared for greater challenges.

  • Each tiny part of the vital healthcare industry has now gained a position in the centre of recognition among the public. Having shown its impact and importance to the public, on a large scale, the expectations of people from the healthcare industry are now elevating. The pandemic shall definitely reshape and reform the sector as a whole.
  • The loopholes that had led to many mishaps during the pandemic shall turn out to be the major areas of alert to the stakeholders. Besides, the global level competition shall get more intense, demanding extremely deliberate efforts from all the international healthcare family members. With numerous start-ups established in and around the time of the pandemic, these industries shall look forward to gaining global recognition, and simultaneously we can see many such organizations sprouting.
  • The demand for a workforce in the healthcare field seems to fetch employment to many. The whole idea of “online” services – the online pharmacy, online consultancy, online help-centres, etc., has been a revolution in all the sectors globally. However, there are a few limitations that can possibly hinder the healthcare sector post the pandemic. The industry might face a few complexities in revenue management since the pandemic has seen explicit exhaustion of funds for medical needs.
  • Financial fatigue and stress might pose a significant challenge to the industry. The supply chain logistics, employee safety and remunerations, digital expenses, etc., are some of the other areas where the industry might face a setback. 

#SumUp: The year 2020 can be considered as a revolutionary phase of reform for the global healthcare industry, with a significant transformation and multiple advancements in just a year. The visible transition of the sector from before the pandemic to what it will be after the pandemic is worth a thought.