The importance of new needs in hospital management after Covid-19
The Covid-19 pandemic has brought about a transformation in the management and organization of the healthcare system and this has been an opportunity for the development of Market Research.
Knowing and understanding the new issues in healthcare is a necessary research goal for the industry in meeting the needs of its customers.
IMPACT OF COVID ON HEALTHCARE
The health system has suffered from the consequences of COVID-19. Patients, doctors and especially the organization of health centers and hospitals have had to adapt quickly to new measures preventing the spread of the virus.
All medical specialists have had to postpone, in one way or another, the face-to-face care of the most vulnerable in hospitals as the most effective measure against contagion. Many specialists, although not directly linked to COVID, have been forced to close operating rooms, suspend treatments, refer patients to other centers or cancel follow-up visits. In Catalonia alone, there was a 66% decrease in visits to the Emergency Department and Primary Care.
Since the state of alarm was declared in Spain, the implementation of telemedicine has undoubtedly been one of the most effective responses in the system. However, it has not been the only solution. Hospitals have developed internal work protocols simultaneously related to face-to-face visits (without going any further, in the cases in which patients can be accompanied). Or initiatives such as the creation of multidisciplinary consultations to reduce the number of hospital visits.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to many important changes in the healthcare system, and these are just a few examples. The system has changed and we need to understand: what changes have come to stay and the new needs that our clients and patients have. Market Research is the activity, once again, most important to understanding and analyzing the current situation and identifying possible approaches and solutions. Here and now, the Industry has the chance to understand in all its complexity the new situation of the sector and how to react.
THE FUTURE OF MARKET RESEARCH
It is well known that in recent decades Market Research in Pharma has evolved significantly, incorporating modifications and improvements to remain as an essential and valuable practice for the Industry. At first the research was focused only on the product, knowing sales data and customer perception about the competition.
From there, Market Research underwent a fundamental change with the consolidation of the customer approach in qualitative research. The aim was to understand the vision, attitude and preference of the various medical profiles. Knowing their needs and expectations in medical practice was key to creating a more effective marketing strategy.
However, the shortcomings of this product-customer approach were evident in the development of new value-added services for the system. That is why the comprehensive approach to the patient and their environment in market research became an important element for its evolution. Understanding the Patient Journey and knowing the patient experience has been and continues to be a key point in order to improve referral and care circuits, as well as providing new and better health services.
The shift from a product-focus to a patient-focus became a paradigm shift. Today, once again, immersed in the complex reality of COVID-19, Market Research must tackle new research and knowledge challenges to which to add value. And by this we mean understanding service management models for the identification of pain points and good practices that improve the whole system.
UNDERSTANDING CHANGES IN HEALTH MANAGEMENT
In this new scenario, with new management and functional models, it will no longer be enough for Market Research to continue with the same work. It will be necessary to go further and understand the reorganization of services that hospitals have undergone:
- Understand the context and new management in order to identify different models developed during the pandemic. Those optimal management models but also those models with an inefficient management where there is an opportunity to collaborate and add value.
- Design ideal management models that respond to the characteristics of each center and its needs. And no less important, models to consider essential aspects related to the efficiency and quality of the system (criteria for the application of telemedicine, reduction of waiting lists, operating protocols, coordination of professionals and available resources).
It is important to point out that some companies in the Pharmaceutical Industry have already begun to develop this path. Similarly, it is also interesting to show how the participation of specialists and heads of services will be critical in this process. The most positive aspect is that, regardless of the setbacks from Covid-19 mentioned, health professionals have shown more than ever these days their willingness to continue collaborating in market research and in such projects. They have shown that sharing their knowledge and experience leads to an improvement in their clinical practice and the healthcare system.
Redacción médica (2020), “Coronavirus Cataluña: los pacientes en Urgencias y Primaria caen un 66%”. Disponible Available at: https://www.redaccionmedica.com/autonomias/cataluna/coronavirus-cataluna-pacientes-urgencias-primaria-caen–9057