America’s hospitals and health systems have incurred average losses of $50.7 billion per month due to the COVID-19 pandemic.1
Health systems and hospitals have rapidly transformed nearly every aspect of their operations to treat the COVID-19 outbreak—to help stop the virus’s spread and save lives. This heroic response has come with a significant financial impact due to costs associated with the complexity of COVID-19 hospitalizations, increased personal protective equipment and disposables, cancelled elective procedures, and more.
Overburdened health systems and overworked staffs—who’ve had little time to regroup after the initial outbreak—are now gearing back up for the additional influx of COVID-19 patients. A recent rise in COVID-19 cases in many states is still technically part of the pandemic’s first wave, but some health experts warn that waves will continue until there’s a vaccine.2
Here are three tips to help you prepare for—and lessen the financial impact of—the pandemic’s inevitable spikes and waves of COVID-19 cases to come.
1. Continue to rapidly build and deploy intelligence
Communicating with your patients is especially important during a continuing health crisis like COVID-19, as CDC guidelines change by the minute. Choose a patient education vendor that keeps up with them for you creating new, clinically validated content that always reflects the latest guidance—building on your communication efforts you’ve already put into place.
Krames On FHIR® delivers up-to-the-minute COVID-19 content—including new HealthSheets™, videos, infographics, articles, blogs, and emails—in real time. Automatic updates free up your IT team to focus on critical pandemic-related system updates.
2. Keep caring for patients—from a distance—with digital technologies
Virtual care visits are expected to soar to more than 1 billion this year, including 900 million visits related to COVID-19.3 Continue to embrace telehealth technology to sustain regular patient visits. Access Krames patient education to enhance the patient experience, pre- and post-telehealth visits.
For high-risk patients managing chronic conditions, reinforce care with engaging, post-visit digital education tools. Go-to-Guides from Krames, for example, are digital workbooks that feature interactive audio, video, and quiz modules. And because taking medications the right way is always key to care, help remove cost barriers with Back to Care—a network of patient assistance programs for free or discounted access to prescribed medications.
3. Promote flu vaccines to prevent a one-two respiratory punch
Health experts warn that it’s more important than ever to get the flu shot this fall to help mitigate a dangerous flu-COVID-19 collision. It’s estimated that a severe flu outbreak—coinciding with COVID spikes as a second wave—could mean 50 to 100% more hospitalizations on top of those from the flu, further overwhelming hospitals and draining resources.4
While we may not have a COVID-19 vaccine yet, we do have safe and effective flu vaccines. They can help combat the overload of patients by curbing the number of serious flu cases on top of COVID-19 cases, keeping beds available for COVID-19 patients. Be ready for flu season with Krames patient education—featuring guidance from the American Lung Association—to encourage those in your care to follow your treatment instructions.
1 Hospitals and health systems face unprecedented financial pressures due to COVID-19. American Hospital Association. https://www.aha.org/system/files/media/file/2020/05/aha-covid19-financial-impact-0520-FINAL.pdf. Published May 2020. Accessed July 9, 2020.
2 Hendrickson V. New York hospitals prepare for a potential second wave of the coronavirus. MarketWatch. https://www.marketwatch.com/story/new-york-hospitals-prepare-for-a-potential-second-wave-of-the-coronavirus-2020-06-03. Published June 3, 2020. Accessed July 9, 2020.
3 U.S. virtual care visits to soar to more than 1 billion. Forrester Web site. https://go.forrester.com/press-newsroom/us-virtual-care-visits-to-soar-to-more-than-1-billion/. April 10, 2020. Accessed July 9, 2020.
4 Terry K. Flu-COVID ‘collision expected the fall, health experts warn. Medscape Web site.’ https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/932813. Published June 23, 2020. Accessed July 16, 2020.