As the Coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) continues to spread across the US and other countries and the administration announces free testing for the Coronavirus, the markets are also experiencing unusual volatilities. Also, we are seeing fears continue to grow amongst the public with state emergencies being declared, school district closures, and officials advising people to stay home to name a few that are all changing and challenging everyday life as we know it.
With this rapidly changing situation and the unknowns that come with a fairly new virus, this is causing many questions and concerns. The public is turning to healthcare providers and payors with their questions looking for guidance and information as well as to further develop and maintain trust in the healthcare system supporting them. Trust has become so critical at this moment in time.
This is more than ensuring sufficient volumes of hospital beds, ventilators, and medical staff are prepared to support those who may be hospitalized, or need access to testing, etc. In the age of digital this too has an important role to play in supporting patients and members effectively. It assists in gaining and maintaining trust. In this blog, we explore a couple of key methods to deploy.
Digital for Communication
The use of digital as a main method of communication is fast becoming imperative to keeping patients informed and out of medical clinics. Developing a comprehensive digital communication plan with frequent updates and information is crucial in this unprecedented time. Sharing information on what social distancing is and why it’s important, what does self-isolation involve, triage information on who needs to be hospitalized, information on how prepared your healthcare system is or offering clarity on whether benefits cover services for tests and treatments related to COVID-19, as well as information on home health programs and telehealth services should you have these are all key to provide at a minimum.
Offering frequent updates as the situation evolves ensures patient and members feel informed and develop trust at a time of uncertainty, so they feel prepared as well as confident in the healthcare system supporting them.
Digital for Triage and Treatment
We have previously shared, digital in the form of telemedicine has continued to grow expansively as effective remote monitoring and treatment method, as well as the use of wider telehealth services. The importance of chatbots has grown to support assessment and triage for those who are experiencing symptoms to the correct level of care. Effective website search tools are enabling patients and members to quickly find relevant information without digging deep into a website.
The first case of using a robot for treatment was seen in Washington state and is an example that can be used across the globe. Artificial intelligence is also playing a key role with the Coronavirus pandemic and this will be the next in the series to keep you informed.
Digital has many uses and can be quickly adopted during this time to support patients and members appropriately during the pandemic that is continuing to surge. Please be safe and continue to do our part in the containment and control of COVID-19.