Companies in the healthcare industry, like almost all industries, can’t wait for 2021. 2020 has been a year unlike any other but, as hard as it was, companies are now looking forward to a productive and successful 2021.
Healthcare companies in the New Year can engage in forward-directed thinking to make this next year more productive and successful. These aren’t specific actions to take or strategies to try. Rather, these are a set of qualities that many of the companies that have success in 2021 will share.
These qualities will help healthcare companies leverage their talent, take advantage of opportunities, and hopefully not only fully recover from the pandemic but be in an even better spot than they were before COVID-19 hit. Here are four qualities that will push healthcare companies forward in 2021.
Telehealth is not a fad. It was coming before the pandemic hit and the need for it in 2020 accelerated it to a point where it clearly has become an important part of the healthcare of the future. Companies that find success in 2021 will lean into telehealth, not shy away from it.
The simplest reason is that it will likely take a quarter of the year for the U.S. alone to get vaccinated, eliminate COVID-19, and start getting back to normal–so telehealth will still be a requirement for at least 25 percent of the year. Even after the necessity of telehealth is over, though, it will still be important through the rest of 2021 and beyond.
Telehealth makes healthcare companies more efficient. It can save money on office space as well as full-time, in-office support staff. It can also help pre-qualify people for different healthcare functions with much less time and effort and help get better results for patients by not constantly putting them under the stress of an office visit.
On the technology side, there are opportunities for tech companies to make the virtual experience better. There can be new add-ons to existing teleconferencing technology, the telehealth portals can be made smoother and more secure, or companies can help make it more accessible for everyone. The companies that figure out how to help enhance this experience will make hay in 2021.
Along with telehealth, the pandemic has caused an explosion in digital health as well. Digital healthcare technologies, such as connected mobile medical devices (CMMD) and Software as a Medical Device (SaMD), made huge gains in the industry last year and in the few years preceding 2020 as well. According to Orthogonal, there are multiple factors behind the impressive acceleration in digital health in recent years.
No matter the reason, though, this digital technology is here to stay. Healthcare companies that find the best ways to integrate digital health products into their existing services will fare much better in 2021 than those that don’t. That is why companies need a well defined digital strategy.
This strategy should be multifaceted and include a plan for every level of your organization. You need to decide what technology fits best and makes the most sense and how to roll it out in a way that works for both internal and external users. Once this specific plan is in place, it is up to everyone involved to work toward executing the strategy so it aligns with all your organization’s broader goals.
Very few industries, if any, create more data than the healthcare industry. If your organization is letting this data go to waste and you’re not collecting and analyzing it well, you will struggle in 2021. If you can take this data, assess it using the latest data analytics, and use the insights gained to make data-driven decisions, you’ll be ahead of the curve.
Healthcare is not an industry where you can take shots in the dark when it comes to making decisions. Data drives the industry and is generated in every aspect of the healthcare process.
The smart companies in the coming year will use Ai technology, machine learning, cloud processing, and more to extract the most out of this data.
These data-driven decisions can help streamline business processes. Data can help provide better care and create better patient outcomes. It can speed up the R&D process to go from nothing to a finished, market-ready product faster, which means more revenue more quickly as well. 2021 will be all about mining as much data as you can and using it for your company’s benefit.
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One more thing the pandemic has taught us that is a good lesson to remember going into 2021: We are all in the same boat. Many of the healthcare challenges we have in North America are similar to those in Europe, Africa, Asia and elsewhere. And, many of the solutions that have worked for your problem may work for mine.
The companies that are willing to collaborate more in 2021 will come up with better, faster solutions to problems and become the leaders in their space.
This will be especially true for cross-disciplinary collaboration among organizations. A perfect example of this is the search for solutions to the pandemic.
Almost all the major vaccines in development were a collaborative effort between governmental organizations, academic institutions, and one or more private pharma or healthcare companies. And what happened? Several vaccines were completed faster than any other major vaccine in history.
This should serve as a lesson going into 2021. Institutions out there hold information that can be helpful to another organization’s problems.
The companies that reach out and look for collaborative partners to add their experience, knowledge, and expertise will be more likely to find success in 2021 meeting the major challenges of our time.
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What qualities will push healthcare companies forward in 2021? Embracing telehealth, a well-thought-out digital strategy, using data better, and greater collaboration are starting points for the coming year. If 2020 truly taught us anything, it’s that we never truly know what’s coming next.
The last thing that will help companies find success is a spirit of open-mindedness and the agility to deal with the unknown and unforeseeable challenges coming next.
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