Natalie Schibell, Senior Analyst
No industry has been more impacted by the pandemic than healthcare. The effects — both foreseeable and unexpected — will continue to reverberate long after the pandemic ends. Senior Analyst Natalie Schibell breaks down the changes and what lies ahead on this week’s podcast.
The biggest shift of the past two years, says Schibell, has been the rise of consumerism. “People wanted what they were getting out of retail experiences,” she says. While the expansion of telehealth, primary care at retail pharmacies, and lower-cost direct-to-consumer models have made healthcare more convenient and accessible, it also has presented challenges. For example, the need to unify patient data residing in disparate systems — a challenge that preceded the pandemic — is now more acute, as patients may see numerous providers.
The pandemic exacerbated other challenges as well. Staffing shortages worsened, in large part because of stress and burnout. The problem is unlikely to reverse in the coming years, as an aging population and high rates of chronic disease continue to strain the healthcare system. Identifying stressors for healthcare workers and ensuring resources are in place will need to be a priority, Schibell says.
The episode also explores the hospital-at-home trend, which gained momentum during the pandemic. Around 200 hospitals in 34 states now have some version of the model, which allows patients to receive acute-level care at home. “This is absolutely going to accelerate,” Schibell says, noting that research shows these programs improve patient experience, patient outcomes, and costs. As the supporting data continues to grow, more insurers will cover these programs on a long-term basis.
The episode closes with Schibell’s advice to healthcare providers to prepare for the changes. Tune in to hear the full discussion.