COVID-19 Challenges of Doctors/ Hospitals Business & Its Solutions
The global pandemic of COVID-19 has changed the science of medicine. It has affected everyone including healthcare providers. Doctors and nurses are learning how to practice medicine differently, modifying the way they perform procedures, communicate with patients and families, utilize technology, and work with the government for a common mission, But lower patient footfall, postponement of elective surgery, drop-in international patients are affecting the cash flow of these medical facilities. Fully committed to partner with the government produced twin problems – investing additional manpower equipment, consumables other resources to ensure 100% preparedness for COVID-19 safety in the Hospital, and drastic fall in revenue. Hospitals are seeing between 50% and 70% decline in net patient revenue. Costs are “mounting”; due to PPE, Fumigation, and other infection control measures. Revenues are very much compromised due to decreased patient footfall.
This trend will be continued in the next One Year .70% of healthcare services are provided by Single doctor-owned Hospitals/Nursing Homes. Their operational cost is 70-80%. Due to decreased patient load, their income reduced to a much extent but Expenses like staff Salaries, bills, and EMI continue as usual, so there will be huge revenue losses& severe impact on cash-flows. Usually, they have less than three months of cash in hand, Many Hospitals will be forced to close functioning who could not adapt accordingly. Darwin rule, Struggle for Existence and Survival of the Fittest will be applicable
Hospitals and Doctors should be changed to face the impact of Pandemic. The only ray of hope is online Promotion and online Consultation.
1- Online Promotion-Usually doctors and hospitals ignore online presence and promotion, but after digitization, 72% of patients consulting the internet for their healthcare information, So doctors and hospitals should make their presence on Google with timing and contact numbers. Make your beautiful practice website and optimize its pages by the Search engine.
2- Use an Existing Patient data-. Use the existing patient's mobile number as a method of promotion. Send bulk SMS to them that now your hospital/clinic is functional. OPD has been started with taking all precautions of Personal Protective Equipments, Daily Fumigation, Hand sanitizer, modified waiting area to maintain social distancing. We have to increase the trust in patients that our hospital /clinic is safe for a patient visit, especially in those patients who are waiting for procedure/surgery.
3- Social Media Marketing-Another mode of promotion is social media. Patients are trusting on social media for the quality of healthcare services. Social media is the best & cheapest way of promotion because most of the patients are using social media to spend time... Most popular social media sites are Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube among patients. 41% of patients trust social media for healthcare needs.
4- Reduce operational Cost-Other modes to compete after a pandemic is to reduce your operational cost. It could be done by better utilization of your manpower and other resources. Staff should be trained regularly to increase efficiency.
5- Online Consultation- You should consult patients online without any risk of infection to patients or you. You could consult globally at your convenient time during late night or traveling even on holidays or out of the station. You could earn anytime, anywhere without any physical Clinic or Staff requirements. Ministry of Health, Government of India has also promoted this by releasing
Tele-medicine Practice Guidelines on 25th March 2020 for Enabling Registered Medical Practitioners to Provide Healthcare Using Tele-medicine. It is a welcoming step in that direction
6- Separate OPD for COVID suspects.-Physicians don’t have enough patients to see. So they should keep staff for fewer hours to reduce overhead costs. Meanwhile, they’ should change the way they practice medicine Physicians should consult patients with COVID-like symptoms at a specified time so that other patients could not suffer the risk of infection spread. You should advertise this also in public to segregate patients and reduce the patient load at a point of time. This will increase your patient's confidence also.
Above measures will help in reducing your problems and increasing your revenue and peace of mind.