Apr 27 2021

How the Changes of the Pandemic Are Shaping the Future of Healthcare Work

Remote work is likely here to stay but how will the pandemic transform telehealth?

A massive shift to remote work has forced healthcare teams to redeploy staff and devices to provide care (as well as administrative and technical support) outside of traditional settings, such as hospitals and offices.

While many industries are returning to offices and other traditional workspaces, the culture of remote work that has arisen during the pandemic will remain. A recent report indicates that 27 percent of the U.S. workforce will be fully remote by the end of 2021; and by 2025, 36.2 million Americans will work remotely, nearly double the pre-pandemic number.

In the healthcare industry, this effect may not be as pervasive. Many professionals who require specialized tools and hands-on access to patients (surgeons, for example) will return to their traditional work environments. But a recent study by McKinsey noted that other healthcare roles, such as general practitioners who can use digital technologies to communicate with patients, have a “much greater potential for remote work.”

Tools to Support the Future of Healthcare

The new era of remote and hybrid workplaces will require technology tools that enable new workflows. By using software to deliver resources traditionally deployed through on-premises hardware, healthcare teams can perform important job functions from anywhere — accessing medical records or delivering a telehealth visit, for example.

The delivery of these capabilities is taking different forms across the healthcare industry. At North Mississippi Health Services, mobile technology and telehealth solutions are being used to engage in virtual nursing, helping the provider deal with a shortage of nurses. But before it could address these challenges, NMHS had to upgrade its wired and wireless network infrastructure to accommodate the increased traffic.

MORE FROM HEALTHTECH: Find out how patients view virtual care.

In other settings, healthcare providers are using web portals and mobile applications to interact with patients for administrative tasks such as scheduling and appointment check-in. In some cases, these apps are connected to patients’ electronic health records, which helps improve information sharing.

Ultimately, the ability to shift to new work models provides a number of benefits for healthcare organizations. In addition to improving business continuity, it also protects employees’ well-being. These benefits should position flexible and remote work as valuable models for the healthcare industry going forward.

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