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Help Build Industry Resilience as a Healthcare Administrator

The United States healthcare system has never been perfect; some would say far from it. The COVID-19 pandemic undoubtedly shined a harsh light on the healthcare industry’s inadequacies.

Rather than repeat the mistakes of years’ past, influential players in healthcare can take this opportunity to learn from the gaps. Healthcare administrators have unique perspectives and can lend their expertise when promoting and implementing systemic changes.

From telehealth to clinical trials, there are a number of areas ripe for improvement.

Advancing Telehealth Beyond a “Triage” State

Telehealth was not a new concept to come out of the pandemic. Telehealth services were used prior to COVID-19 but accelerated into near-ubiquity once hospitals and other healthcare facilities realized how severe the novel virus was.

Many experts now argue that telehealth should not be viewed as a band-aid approach. In fact, they believe there are both patient and provider benefits to virtual care interactions. A few include:

  • Greater access to care for those in remote/rural areas or where transportation is scarce
  • Reduced time spent in the hospital for those who suffer from chronic illnesses
  • Better adherence to care protocols and appointments
  • Improved communication between providers and patients

As in-person care resumes, health administrators can play an essential role in guiding and prioritizing telehealth strategies.

Diversifying the Supply Chain

One grim realization brought to light by the pandemic was limited access to critical supplies, medications and medical equipment. The supply chain faced disruption, due to an overreliance on overseas manufacturers and distributors. In fact, 90% of all face masks used during the pandemic were (and are) produced in China.

While there’s no one solution to this issue, contributor Susan DeVore offers a several suggestions, such as:

  • Optimize tech solutions to better track product availability, supply chain performance and supply sources
  • Provide tax incentives or low-cost loans to help American manufacturers be more competitive in the market
  • Incentivize health systems and healthcare providers to purchase domestically
  • Diversify American-available supply, including raw materials, pharmaceutical ingredients and finished drugs

Again, hospital administrators have a critical voice in helping to evolve supply chain processes and advance responsiveness.

Taking a Different Perspective on Technology

Providers emphasize technological advancements, like robotics in surgery, genetics or targeted cancer therapy. Yet, some of the tech-based systems used within healthcare lag. For example, it wasn’t that long ago that patient health records were pen-to-paper and stored in a file cabinet.

PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) asserts that advanced data analysis, forecasting systems and an ecosystemic view will drive the healthcare industry forward. An HRI report on top issues in the industry states that combining dynamic data analysis with evolved forecasting systems would “help healthcare organisations respond more effectively during the next public health emergency, as well as help deliver better health outcomes with more sustainable, affordable costs over the long term.”

Which hospital administrator wouldn’t want that outcome?

Creating More Inclusive Clinical Trials

Historically, clinical trials have heavily relied on seeing and treating patients in hospital or clinic settings. But, spurred by the pandemic, pharmaceutical and life sciences companies had to pivot. They realized that virtual opportunities exist — and can transform the way they conduct trials.

One key benefit is serving more diverse populations, such as those impacted by various social determinants of health. A virtual approach decreases the burden on trial participants to travel to appointments (often hundreds of miles), ultimately making participation more attractive.

Elevate Your Role as a Hospital Administrator

One challenge healthcare administrators encounter when attempting to innovate is understanding the landscape from both a healthcare perspective and a business one. Their job is to ensure patients receive top-level care, but they’re also running a company.

With a more robust foundation, such as earning a Master of Science in Health Administration (MHA), administrators can not only withstand unexpected disruptions (like the pandemic) — but also lead the charge in effecting system-wide change.

Learn more about Northern Kentucky University’s Master of Science in Health Administration online program.

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