The coronavirus pandemic has thrown almost every industry into flux – from heightened tech adoption to changing consumer trends, work-from-home, and the recent wave of retail investors making their mark on the stock market. The looming question, however, is if these changes persist once the world returns to normalcy.
The healthcare industry has, justifiably, been front and center in the spotlight fighting day and night on the front lines of the pandemic to keep the virus at bay, and yet the industry has not escaped the overwhelming push for change that has impacted every other sector. The most publicized change has come in the form of telehealth, with patients consulting with healthcare professionals via the internet and from the safety of their own homes. While this new, technological approach to healthcare has helped millions, it is limited in its capacity for any actual treatment.
“While telehealth has changed the world to help assist with providers being able to see patients throughout the pandemic. It has many benefits to it, although I don’t think it can ever fully replace direct personal interaction. Being able to see a patient, holding up a stethoscope, and doing a full physical, requires a person to be present. Other parts of medicine also require an actual procedure like intravenous lines, swabs, blood works, and cannot yet be replaced with telehealth,” said Bracha Banayan, CEO of IV nutrition company IVDrips.
When it comes to the administration of medicine, and the diagnosis of acute ailments, nothing will ever compare to hands-on care, that is why other healthcare providers have pivoted to offering at-home concierge care.
In 2017, nurse practitioner Banayan and her sister founded a company that provides intravenous nutrition and hydration to clients. As Covid began to sweep the globe the company began receiving a wave of requests from individuals suffering from the virus or those with comorbidities asking for relief through nutraceuticals without having to walk into a hospital. As the pandemic continued, and testing became a critical need Banayan added to their services and offered safe in-home tests as well.
They rapidly expanded the company’s services to respond quickly to a need. As coronavirus testing emerged, they found themselves testing many of their clients. The concept of medical home services expanded overnight with Covid and as necessity is the mother of invention, this firm was delivering a variety of additional services.
The need for change and the customer demand for alternatives is a decision that many business owners have had to grapple with, but implementing radical business overhauls can seem daunting.
“Listen to what your clients are saying. If you notice most clients are more interested in one product or service over another, try to understand the reasons and pivot”, Banayan said.
These quickly implemented business services now account for almost 40% of this company’s revenue, something that has helped keep it and its employees working and financially viable throughout the uncertainties of the past year. Still, as in any other industry, more change may be necessary and innovation will be crucial for survival.
Where do we go from here? Will the world shift back to the way it was or will new trends prove to be permanent?
These are the questions business owners must grapple with as the public is increasingly being vaccinated, hopefully marking an end to the pandemic. For companies such as Banayan’s and others in similar fields, the concept of concierge medical service seems lasting, and the future of medical care may never be the same.
As we get back to some form of normalcy, the questions of where and how to pivot, and how and what does a return to business as usual look like, are critical. Not every new idea will work, and several older concepts may no longer apply. For a small business to survive, it has to be nimble, flexible, but daring and wise too.