Reflection on 2021 and Preview and Prediction of 2022
on November 30, 2021
As 2021 comes to a close, I believe it is healthy to reflect on the year and see where we’ve been and what we might have in store for the coming year. It is fair to say that homecare providers have had to rapidly adapt to a new normal shaped by a pandemic that has impacted providers to the very core.
We are all aware of the current challenges facing us, albeit temporary: supply chain issues; workforce strain and/or personnel shortages, and inflation. However, there have been a number of foundational shifts arising from or being exacerbated by COVID-19’s spread that we must acknowledge: providers having to deal with consumers’ (notice I did not say patients) increasing involvement in healthcare decision-making; rapid adoption of virtual health along with various other digital innovations; data analytics usage and the push for interoperable data. All segment of healthcare (providers, manufacturing, payers, and government) are being challenged to quickly pivot, adapt, and innovate.
As I look at the coming year, these three issues must be considered and analyzed to better understand how we should address or respond. I believe how we respond to these issues will shape our future and our ability to navigate from recovering to thriving in the post-pandemic “new normal.”
- Every person’s health journey is different. Providers should fine-tune their services to elevate each encounter into a personalized healthcare experience. Consumers are driving—and accelerating—the pace of change in healthcare. Their needs and goals are propelling innovation in health-related products, services, and tools. Their preferences are steering the development of digitally enabled, on-demand, and seamlessly connected clinician-provider-patient interactions.
- More than ever, consumers will expect care to be available to them when and how it’s most convenient and safe for them. This means virtual care, remote monitoring, digital diagnostics, and self-service applications for education. It will be important to train personnel in building virtual interpersonal relationships to enhance the consumer’s virtual experience.
- With consumer needs and cost-management concerns being front and center, healthcare organizations are transitioning to health IT systems powered by cloud and data and analytics tools to enable real time, smart digital healthcare. There has been increased collaboration across all stakeholders – manufacturers, academia, government, payers, providers, etc. - demonstrating the value of partnering to deliver solutions and improve outcomes. These technologies are personalizing care and enabling real-time interventions. I would also be remised if I did not state how data will drive providers' behaviors internally. Data will help providers look beyond traditional sales efforts or organizational charts to look to strengthen and expand networks and collaborations to nurture a culture of inclusion and belonging.
As we enter into 2022, one thing is certain, innovation. The HME industry will have to navigate and determine how to manage profitability while navigating from traditional care to virtual care while weaving in digital tools that improve consumer and clinician relationships. VGM is here so we can face it together to learn, grow, and prosper. Thank you for being part of the VGM family that helps, supports, and strives to be better together. We look forward to continuing to provide resources and solutions for your business in the new year. Together, we are part of something bigger.
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