The COVID-19 pandemic forced the entire industry to speed up the pace of innovation. With a return to normal, or at least semi-normal, on the horizon, leaders are looking for ways to not only maintain, but build on that progress.
Nearly all CEOs (92.9%) described the pace of innovation over the past year as speeding up, according to Modern Healthcare’s Power Panel, a quarterly survey of top healthcare CEOs. The remaining respondents said the pace of innovation was staying the same, while no respondents said innovation was slowing down in the industry.
During the pandemic, health systems quickly stood up telehealth programs and hospital-at-home efforts that tied together devices and analytics to monitor patients, as well as pushing more information to patients about the virus through chatbots, patient portals and texting campaigns.
Some of those innovations will likely stay in place, with more than half of respondents estimating 11% to 25% of patient visits will remain virtual after the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
Healthcare needs to “emerge from this pandemic with a mindset that we’re not going to go back,” said Tina Freese Decker, CEO of Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Spectrum Health. “We’ve seen the unlocking of what our teams can do.”
But the pandemic wasn’t the only factor at play. There’s been a convergence of many factors that have contributed to the pace of innovation, according to Dr. Marc Harrison, CEO of Salt Lake City-based Intermountain Healthcare. He pointed to technology giants continuing to make moves into the industry and growing expectations for consumerism from patients as two examples.
“They want seamless access,” Harrison said of patients. “They want to be followed through the course of their illness (and) they want us to be affordable and transparent.”
Following are three trends shaping the innovation landscape, according to Modern Healthcare’s survey.