“As Albert Einstein once said, “In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity” — which has proven true for the healthcare industry throughout the pandemic.”
It’s no secret that healthcare has been at the center of COVID-19 disruptions. The pandemic has pushed the limits of the healthcare system in ways we could have never imagined. Provider revenue streams and staffing were significantly impacted, and everyone had to shift as much of their business model as possible to a virtual care environment to survive. At the start of the pandemic, we were all asking ourselves the same question: How can we continue to support our provider partners to take care of their patients and staff and support their businesses?
As Albert Einstein once said, “In the midst of every crisis lies great opportunity” — which has proven true for the healthcare industry throughout the pandemic.
Telehealth: The bridge between disruption and opportunity in the industry has been telehealth. Medicare and state Medicaid agencies (including Arizona’s) relaxed the rules around telehealth to ensure patients have continued access to their healthcare providers. Many primary care providers had to rapidly implement or scale telehealth to meet the needs of their patient populations. This shift in care delivery was necessary to create greater patient access, and COVID-19 really accelerated this effort.
Community collaboration: It’s been inspiring to see communities come together during this time. Equality Health Foundation partnered with multiple community organizations to bring COVID-19 testing, outreach and education to underserved areas. This public-private partnership has laid the groundwork for future efforts to serve the community, such as delivering vaccinations.
Healthcare heroes: While healthcare providers have long been the backbone of our healthcare system, their sacrifices and commitment to patients have received newfound recognition in light of the pandemic. COVID-19 has shone a bright light on our healthcare heroes who are on the frontlines to support the greater population throughout this public health crisis.
Whole-person care: The pandemic has elevated the conversation on behavioral health, which is a crucial component of whole-person care. Patients have been facing a variety of new and exacerbated behavioral health issues, whether caused by isolation, financial concerns or COVID-19 itself. This greater awareness around the importance of behavioral health services plays a critical role in changing the way the industry thinks about whole-person care.
This is the right time for the healthcare industry to embrace value-based care. As a strategic partner to health insurers and healthcare providers, Equality Health will continue to drive value-based care by lowering overall costs, improving quality and enhancing the patient experience.
Despite the challenges presented by 2020, our future is bright. We have enjoyed success and growth in Arizona, which has opened the door to opportunities in new markets where we plan to build on this momentum in 2021.
Further, we’ll explore new public and private partnerships and build on our existing ones to ensure greater healthcare access and transform equitable healthcare for the better. If we’ve learned anything from this pandemic, it’s that we are stronger together.
With more than 25 years of healthcare experience, Lisa Stevens Anderson leads the management services organization (Q Point Health) of Equality Health, where, as president, she works with healthcare providers and payers to deliver whole-person, integrated care through population health management and value-based risk contracts.