In the News: May 14–21

More Providers Are Embracing Virtual Health    

A recent Modern Healthcare article highlights how Providence Medical Group has utilized telehealth in a quick and effective way to bring care to patients throughout its community. Although its primary care providers were more easily convinced, watching specialists like cardiologists use the technology has been surprising and rewarding for patients and providers alike.

By using telehealth, providers within Providence Medical Group have been able to offer lifesaving care while improving access for patients. In one case, a mother contacted her daughter’s provider to let them know of her severe stomach pain. During the visit, the provider guided the mother through the exam, which resulted in a visit to the ED to remove her appendix. Although implementing telehealth is not an easy feat, the COO of Providence’s physician enterprise said that within 7 business days, the organization went from 50 telehealth-trained providers to 7,000 and from 700 video visits a month to 70,000 visits a week.

The health care industry has quickly adapted to virtual health, and as more changes to federal policies and regulations occur, it will likely be a permanent adjustment for all. Organizations have increased their clinical bandwidth by rapidly adjusting the scope of care as necessary, training new personnel and modifying their compensation as needed. These actions have allowed some programs to increase their provider bandwidth by 10 times or more. Please read a recent edition of the Sg2 Virtual Health Newsletter to learn more about how organizations are using digital strategies to manage demand for services, extend reach, and protect their workforce and communities.

Advancement Continues in Precision Medicine

A recent Healthcare IT News article describes innovation using precision medicine to map the immune system and improve the diagnosis and treatment of disease. The article describes targeting a specific patient population to understand the immune system and track immunotherapy efficacy.

According to the article, suppliers and providers have partnered to use artificial intelligence to analyze patient record data to develop courses of treatment. Immunotherapy has an element of unpredictability, increased morbidity and cost; however, it does provide tremendous promise. These partnerships encourage organizations to leverage assets to provide tools for caregivers and develop efficient therapies. Furthermore, the data analysis can help providers determine a patient’s response to immunotherapies, while continued research across the health care sector will increase confidence in leveraging machine learning algorithms to create immune profiles and targeted treatment plans.

To find out more about strategic considerations for precision medicine and in which areas you should target your clinical and workforce needs, please read the Sg2 Expert Insight Precision Medicine: Hits and Misses.

Health Spending Sees Largest Drop Since 1959

A recent Associated Press article outlines the financial blow the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the health care industry, with spending on health care services falling at an annual rate of 18%, which is the largest drop since 1959.

While hospitals are gaining COVID-19 patients, they are actually losing money by needing to expand intensive care and spend more on infection control and personal protective equipment. It’s estimated hospitals and health systems will lose over $36 billion from treating COVID-19 patients, and with revenue lost from postponed/canceled surgeries, that number could grow to $200 billion. Doctor’s offices are also taking a hit, as some patients do not have the technology for virtual visits or are worried insurance may not cover them.

Health care researchers say hospitals, doctor’s offices and surgery centers will gradually rebound, but it is still unknown how much patient volume will return. Organizations need to assess their financial picture during trough, reactivation and OR surge phases of COVID-19 to get a clear line of sight into normal operations and revenue/contribution margin recoupment. Access our Sg2 COVID-19 Financial Recovery Calculator to help your strategy and finance teams get a long-term view of how COVID-19 will continue to impact revenue.

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