The global pandemic of 2020 no doubt caused many shock waves throughout the world by changing the norm of our routines and dismantling the structures we thought were resilient. The health sector became one of the most talked about, feared, and perplexing topics of the century. The pandemic changed the way we see the health sector and how crucial, yet fragile it actually is. The health industry is comprised of many different health related sectors that work together to provide individuals the care and services they need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Covid-19 changed the structure of the health industry and unfortunately some sectors had immense difficultly during 2020. The tremors of the pandemic were in some cases positive where sectors were able to quickly adapt to the changing times and have since survived the darkest part of the pandemic storm. The majority of sectors, however, have had a largely negative impact from the Covid-19 pandemic. In this article, we will dive into a few sectors that have been able to adapt and create ways to survive the uncertain times and see some industries that have yet to adjust to the new norms.
- Hospitals and Clinics
During the pandemic the news and most media outlets surged with footage of hospitals overflowing with individuals. The only place where social distancing was not a priority was in the place where it was too late. Hospitals were so overflowed to the point where more facilities were sought to house patients. The surge was so great that hospitals all over the world witnessed the greatest stress we could have ever imagined. We witness first-hand the fragility of our hospitals and the requirement of better organisation, more qualified staff, and much more quality put into preparation for patient influx.
In the coming years, governments will have to consider health crises again to be much more prepared.
On the flipside however, sectors and businesses such as dental clinics for example, were on the opposite end of the spectrum. Many had to close due to the pandemic for the safety of staff, clients, and wait out the general uncertainty of the situation. Not having in-house clients caused a shift in the way dental clinics operate and have had to come up with ways to still provide a service but in a much more modern, post-pandemic way. Clients who need treatments have had to defer appointments or wait until the pandemic has eased. Patients have also had to adapt to new requirements of how appointments and clinic visits are conducted. One interesting adaptation in the dental sector is made in relation to cosmetic dentistry. Adding some shine to your smile can be done at home such as with the ZOOM whitening service from Sierra Dental Clinic in Calgary. Patients can now get everything they need sent to their homes and have a virtual appointment with their dentist through Zoom. Although not all services can be delivered virtually, these alterations are keeping businesses afloat during these uncertain times.
- Medical Practitioners
Medical practitioners such as chiropractors have also been greatly affected by Covid-19 such as the beginning of 2020 seeing many clinics having to shut doors for months, but once the situation eased, the introduction of new regulations of interaction during visits. Practitioners who work with their hands have had a hard time during the pandemic but have adapted to the new requirements and have also begun to slowly take in clients to go through the back log of patients. This is all with knowing there is still a risk of spreading the looming virus but also making the decision to provide an incredibly valuable service and undoing the economic damage. Many have praised the return of chiropractors and physiotherapists as damage has been done to individuals from doing home workouts, bad posture and pain from working from home as well as simply not maintaining visits for pre-pandemic conditions.
Other practitioners such as psychologists and mental health clinics have adapted well by providing virtual sessions through Zoom to their clients and have even gained clients with more individuals affected negatively by the pandemic. Mental health statistics have altered greatly given the mental struggle for people to stay indoors and changing the way how we interact and even the way we conduct self-care. A total of 53% of individuals in the US have said they are having some mental health struggles caused by the pandemic, a rise of over 23% from 2019. The overall stress, uncertainty and negativity resulting from the pandemic has caused a massive surge in the need for mental health and psychological services. Thankfully these can be provided virtually and education for dealing with these issues was circulated online throughout the pandemic.
- Medical Supply Manufacturers and Medical Insurance Providers.
Considering how some health sectors have been surging with patients and others have been temporarily suspended, medical supply manufacturers have had to adjust to the fluctuation resulting from the pandemic. One of the main issues the pandemic has caused is the bureaucracy and politics of competition of medical supplies and getting them to the needed hospitals and individuals. Politics, transport, time scales all play a role and have provided this industry with much more stress than previous. Like other sectors, better adaptation and organisation will be needed in the future.
Medical insurance providers have also been greatly affected by the uncertainty caused by Covid-19. Not just due to travel but the expense and calculations associated with medical situations and claims. Medical insurers will feel the long-lasting effects of the Covid-19 pandemic for the next few years. A new approach will have to be taken for medical insurers coming into 2021 post pandemic.
Considering some sectors have been able to adapt to the effects of the pandemic, some industries unfortunately have been left at a standstill and are in financial jeopardy. Unemployment and questioning the future of some sectors has put generations such as students and some fresh employees in a head spin. New survival methods for the medical industry must be considered and tested to ensure not only business can stay afloat, but also that individuals can get the care they need. We must remember how many individuals were unable to get services they required during the storm of 2020. Resilience and innovation will be necessary for the entire health industry to prepare for the uncertainty of 2021 and ensure people and businesses are taken care of in the next phase dealing with the effects of closures, surges and unemployment.