The Healthcare industry has been hit hard by COVID-19 pandemic. Hospitals and practices have had to deal with a surge in patients, as well as decrease in staff and resources.
As a result, many healthcare facilities have had to make changes to their operations in order to stay afloat. One of the most significant changes has been to healthcare marketing.
With so much uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, healthcare providers have had to be more creative in their marketing efforts in order to reach potential patients.
They’ve also had to adapt their messaging to address the concerns of existing patients.
The pandemic has also resulted in a decrease in elective procedures, which has had a major impact on healthcare providers’ bottom line.
As the pandemic continues to evolve, healthcare marketers will need to be nimble in order to keep up with the changes.
Evolution of Medicare Advantage
As more baby boomers retire and enter into their Medicare years, the number of enrollees in Medicare Advantage plans has accelerated.
These plans provide lower co-pays and premiums than regular Medicare, as well as additional supplemental benefits such as dental and vision coverage.
However, the additional costs of these plans – whichaverage 104% per capita more than regular Medicare – have attracted scrutiny from regulators.
In recent years, there has been an increased focus on cases of “upcoding” by Medicare Advantage providers, whereby beneficiaries are erroneously enrolled in more expensive plans than they need.
While this problem is difficult to solve, it is important to ensure that beneficiaries are getting the best value for their healthcare dollars.
Enter the Health Care Labor Market
The healthcare industry has been one of the hardest hit by the ongoing labor shortage.
Medical care is still in high demand, even after the pandemic has begun to wind down.
As a result, healthcare workers are facing longer hours and more stressful working conditions. In many cases, they are burning out and reassessing their options.
They may be able to make better money in other settings or industries, but they crave better work-life balance.
In order to attract and retain the best healthcare workers, it’s important for healthcare marketing teams to focus on creating a positive work environment.
By promoting a healthy work-life balance, they can help attract top talent and keep their practice thriving.
Keep up with Regulations & Gov't Agenda
As negotiations over the next stimulus package continue, it’s becoming increasingly clear that Congress and the Biden administration are still at odds on a number of major issues.
This impasse has led to the creation of smaller bills that focus on specific issues, rather than attempting to pass sweeping legislation.
One such issue is the Provider Relief Fund, which provides financial assistance to healthcare providers who have been impacted by the pandemic.
While it’s unlikely that the fund will be replenished in the next stimulus package, there are other targeted changes that could take place, including expanding telehealth opportunities.
Ultimately, it remains to be seen what will be included in the final bill, but it’s clear that both sides are still far apart on a number of key issues.
Mental Health & Behavior Impact
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, mental health has been significantly impacted across the globe.
For healthcare workers, the pandemic has resulted in increased levels of burnout and early retirement.
This is due to the constant fear of contracting the disease, as well as the isolation from family and friends.
In addition, the remote work and education that have become commonplace over the past two years have also contributed to the deterioration of mental health.
The lack of social interaction and human contact has been shown to have a negative impact on mental wellbeing.
As a result, the pandemic has had a terrible impact on mental health, with burnout and early retirement becoming more common among healthcare workers.
Private Equity to Drive Healthcare Innovation in 2022
As we head into 2022, we can expect to see increased activity from private equity firms, particularly in the healthcare sector.
This is a continuation of a trend that we’ve seen over the past decade, as private equity firms have been attracted to the potential for profits in sectors like digital health, physician practices and senior living.
While private equity can drive innovation and remove inefficiencies, it’s important to remember that its ultimate goal is to generate profits for its investors.
This focus on short-term gain can sometimes conflict with the long-term needs of the population, which is why it’s important to monitor private equity activity closely.
Healthcare Industry is Consolidating
As the healthcare industry continues to consolidate, there is growing concern that the lack of competition will lead to higher costs and lower quality of care.
In July 2021, President Biden issued an executive order focused on improving competition in the healthcare industry.
The DOJ and FTC are now preparing to review their merger guidance and seek feedback from the public.
This comes as the proposed merger between Optum and Change Healthcare is facing scrutiny from the DOJ.
In addition, 200 congressional members have asked regulators to investigate whether private equity firms are driving up healthcare costs.
As hospital mergers, staffing, private equity, and nursing homes all come under increased scrutiny, it remains to be seen how these issues will be resolved.
However, one thing is clear: the healthcare industry is undergoing a major shift.
Brace for More Inflation
The economy has taken a beating over the course of the pandemic.
Record levels of inflation, coupled with major shifts in the stock market, have caused havoc for businesses and consumers alike.
The Federal Reserve has mentioned increasing interest rates to offset inflation, but this could do more harm than good.
Labor issues and clinical professionals leaving the healthcare industry are also having an impact.
All of these factors combined are putting a strain on the economy that may be difficult to recover from.
Only time will tell how severe the damage will be. In the meantime, we can only hope for the best.