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How COVID Will Affect the Healthcare Industry

How COVID Will Affect the Healthcare Industry

If you don't recognize the world you're living in right now; you're not alone. The healthcare industry is front line first responder heroes during the COVID0-19 crisis, and it continues to impact them in different almost every day. Thousands of healthcare workers, including doctors, nurses, aides, and other medical personnel, are working around the clock to treat those infected with the Coronavirus. 

Even before the COVID-19 crisis, the World Health Assembly had declared that 2020 was the year of the nurse. In addition to the thousands of healthcare workers who are working around the clock during this pandemic, there are more than three million healthcare industry home healthcare workers. Both groups are frontline heroes fighting against COVID-19 with their patients.

How is the pandemic impacting the healthcare industry in terms of jobs, personal sacrifices, lessons acquired along the way, and more? Many healthcare workers are taking pay cuts due to a shortage of funds, of supplies, of other workers within their hospital or clinic. The guide below is intended to provide practical advice regarding jobs, research data, information and facts from expert academic authors, and the scientific community. 

Healthcare Industry in the Time of COVID-19

As the COVID-19 crisis lives on, it is healthcare professionals and biopharmaceutical companies that are researching, treating, and helping to advise the general population. It's vital to understand that human Coronavirus does have some of the hard scientific and medical facts behind it. There are also healthcare jobs being transformed and re-defined; the longer the pandemic lasts. 

Healthcare Professionals and COVID-19 Virus Transmissibility

Healthcare professionals and the general public need to be aware of COVID-19 virus transmissibility. 

  1. Healthcare professionals and researchers now know that coronavirus can only replicate and reproduce inside human cells. 
  2. The hospital infrastructure isn't ready. There is an overwhelming lack of funding within healthcare administrative departments. This overwhelming lack of funding is due to the COVID-19 spread in patients within the United States and internationally. It has significantly overwhelmed and swamped hospitals, clinics, and the healthcare system. 
  3. In the near future lack of liquidity as all monies are being redirected to COVID-19 treatments. 

In the near future, mandatory on-the-job medical screening for the coronavirus could become requested or mandatory when getting a job. That means phlebotomist jobs will increase substantially. The phlebotomists may become workers for major corporations and the private sector vs. hospitals and clinics.

Coronavirus Crazy Facts and How Will This Affect Healthcare Jobs

Currently, some of the largest corporations in the world are making it mandatory that their workers have their temperatures taken before their shifts. This includes retails giants like Walmart and Home Depot.  The healthcare professions may always be divided into pre and post COVID-19 with things like telemedicine becoming more prevalent in day-to-day medicine.

Over nineteen million Americans still don't have access to the internet using a Federal Communication Commission statistic. This will significantly impact the healthcare industry as telemedicine becomes more prevalent. Telemedicine had been increasing at a rate of 20% per year, but the pandemic is pushing the 2020 statistics upwards.

This means unemployment numbers will go up for people regardless of an industry who find they are unable to work remotely. What's driving this growing statistic? It's the transmissibility factor in COVID-19 that is the prime driver.

Coronavirus Facts

The Coronavirus facts and how it starts have been studied, and the following are the facts known thus far about the Coronavirus.

  1. COVID-19 goes into the ACE2 Receptors cells you have in your body. 
  2. Once the COVID-19 is in the ACE2 Receptor cells, it can multiply.
  3. The cells hijack healthy cells and force them to reproduce as infected cells.

Medical and scientific researchers already know that when a person sneezes or coughs, the virus can spread. They also know the virus stays in the air, on plastic and other items for a period of hours or days. Remote working may keep rising in number because it helps people control the environment they are in for safety reasons.

What Are the Good and Bad Things That Will Come Out of This?  

One of the most startling Coronavirus facts is that people can spread the virus 24-48 hours before they ever show symptoms. This detail is vital to understanding why people are most infectious right before they start to show symptoms with the Coronavirus. Researchers explain that 25-44 percent of people who caught the Coronavirus got it from people who had no symptoms and felt fine at the time they interacted.

The transmissibility factor statistic has a significant impact on healthcare workers. It has become a hard statistic that healthcare workers have to think about when continuing their job or finding a new one.

Coronavirus Affects Healthcare Jobs in Different Ways

For as long as most of us can remember those working in healthcare and who had medical careers were in demand, no matter where they lived. Job security was almost always present, and almost all had a stable income. That plays into international healthcare worker numbers, with over 70 percent of healthcare workers being made up of women. 

In addition to making up the majority of the healthcare profession, 75% of women are the primary caretakers in their families. The result of COVID-19 on women in the healthcare profession is that in an effort to keep the desperately needed healthcare workers, many states are enacting additional resource mandates like child-care assistance.

The additional healthcare resources are intended to help women handle the challenges of taking care of their COVID-19 patients and families.

Coronavirus Can Negatively Impact Healthcare Worker Jobs

On the other side of the same issue, other healthcare jobs are being eliminated or furloughed right now. For instance, thousands of healthcare workers from dentists to general surgeons are scaling back. Upwards of 60,000 family practices will close or cut-back on operations and staff members.

It is estimated there will be close to 800,000 health care professionals that will be laid off or furloughed. Many are being laid off or furloughed due to the Coronavirus social distancing rules and shutdowns.

Coronavirus and Healthcare Internal Operations

If you want to consider, some long-term effects of Coronavirus on healthcare and its internal operations look no further than supply chain disruptions. Supply chain disruptions lead to drug and medical supply shortages. Medical and drug shortages within healthcare facilities and operations are relying on ancillary healthcare workers.

The ancillary healthcare workers are facing extreme financial challenges trying to stay open and keep their workers employed. It's thought that 76% of U.S. providers of healthcare only had about 60 days or less of cash on hand to see them through. Usually, that's not a problem.

But if you add unknown variables like governmental reimbursement risks, uncertain incoming payments, or deductibles that keep changing, you have a domino effect. This domino effect impacts everything from healthcare providers to patients and their families. 

CDC Fact Sheet and How it is Impacting Healthcare Workers

The CDC has divided healthcare workers who are in contact with Coronavirus patients into three general groups.

  1. High-Risk Exposure - If you're working a COVID-19 patient and were exposed to material or droplets from a patient not wearing a mask and was potentially infectious with the virus. This includes respiratory secretions, intubation, extubations, bronchoscopy, nebulizer therapy, sputum induction, and more.
  2. Medium-Risk Exposure - If you were wearing a face mask while HCP nose and mouth were exposed to a patient through prolonged exposure. This prolonged exposure would be through the material that was potentially infectious with the virus. An instance of this is an aerosol-generating procedure that could put a healthcare professional at a medium-risk of exposure. 
  3. Low-Risk Exposure - If you're working with a COVID-19 patient and had a brief interaction with them when you and they were wearing a facemask for source control. 

The impact of the three categories above on the healthcare industry's professional workers cannot be overstated. The effect of any three of the above exposure levels can result in healthcare workers getting the Coronavirus themselves. This leaves yet another gap in the healthcare industry statistics.

Good and Bad Lessons Learned From COVID-19 and Healthcare Professionals

There are some beneficial lessons learned and positive things that will come out of living and working through COVID-19 as a healthcare professional. Some of the lessons learned are that you need to create and sustain a maximized safety environment in your hospital for key clinical personnel and patients. The burn rate on PPE will be almost double what most medical facilities anticipate or plan.

The result will be healthcare administrators, and those working in supplies and inventory need to order and keep higher quantities than initially estimated. More isolation rooms in hospitals for self-containment purposes are needed so healthcare workers can keep their patients isolated. Medical healthcare staff will need gloves, surgical masks, N-95 masks, gowns, and any other PPE mandated by the CDC.

Additionally, healthcare engineers and workflow processes need to find a way to introduce negative airflow into medical facilities for healthcare professionals and patients. The use of cluster patient care will be mandatory and help decrease PPE turnover. The general lunch, break room, and sitting areas may also be reconfigured, affecting thousands of workers who provide cafeteria food and eateries in healthcare facilities.

How Does COVID-19 Affect Healthcare Workers at Healthcare Organizations?

Once the COVID-19 is in the ACE2, receptor cells are multiplying. At this time, there is no way to stop the progression of COVID-19 from making a person ill from the virus unless they have natural immunity. Scientists and researchers are doing targeted research on ACE2 and angiotensin-converting enzyme-2.

It's thought that this research is vital to helping unlock a Coronavirus treatment or vaccine. Some steps can help healthcare workers and the patients they treat.

Research That Gives COVID-19 Pro-Active Fighting Steps

The below strategies are ways we can help stop the virus from traveling. Healthcare professionals implementing the objectives below is one small way they help flatten the curve of COVID-19. 

  1. First and foremost, social isolation means what it says. It's not a choice, its necessary to help prevent COVID-19 after you go home after you complete your healthcare job tasks. This is also true for anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 after they are discharged from the hospital.
  2. There needs to be a universal test for COVID-19, and it needs to be used on everyone.
  3. The antigen is the virus itself, and that's what's being tested for right now.
  4. We may never have the social norms that existed in healthcare settings or the community.

Finally, COVID-19 is a novel zoonotic disease caused by Coronavirus from China (meaning it crossed from animal to human). That means healthcare workers, and the general population needs to wash and wash again every time you with it, around it, or could have been exposed to it. It's your best defense. 

Novel Coronavirus Insights

If you haven't seen the future in what healthcare professionals are going through today, then you're not taking it all in yet. While there are very pro-active steps we can take and viable options everyone has in fighting Novel Coronavirus, there is no cure or vaccine yet. No one wants to have a future where healthcare workers can't be as safe as possible doing their jobs.

That's why an antibody test must be used in the medical community. Healthcare professionals need to know who has the disease so they can be isolated and treated. There also needs to be an antibody test to show people who are positive for COVID-19, but asymptomatic because they may be immune to the virus.

If there's a way to get the antibodies from the asymptomatic people and put it into a vaccine, there may be a positive medical result. It may allow workers within the healthcare industry and the public to feel safer working, being treated, and finding jobs that depend on healthcare industry interactions. If we all start working together against the COVID-19 virus, we can win the fight against an enemy no one saw coming.