The impact of COVID-19 on APAC hospitals

By | August 11, 2020

In the final edition of ‘COVID-19 Impact on Asia-Pacific Hospitals’ survey published by L.E.K. Consulting’s APAC Life Sciences Centre of Excellence in collaboration with GRG Health, key findings gathered from hospital administrators and clinicians focused on the state of inpatient capacity, elective procedures, digital engagement with healthcare professionals and post-COVID-19 planning.

Inpatient capacity and post-COVID-19 planning

Indonesia, India and the Philippines are still concerned with the hospital capacity issue as the number of new COVID-19 infections continues to grow. As hospitals begin to plan for post-COVID-19, optimizing clinical and non-clinical workflow and staffing as well as rebuilding hospital reputation became increasingly higher priorities at the time of survey (weeks of 15-30 June 2020).

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A majority of hospitals in APAC (~70%) expect pharma and medical device manufacturers to maintain or increase on-site presence and support for new product training, but decrease their presence and support for sales detailing and service support. 

On elective procedures

The top concerns for a number of hospitals (40%-50%) have shifted towards staff wellness, staff capacity and hospital finances due to revenue loss from elective procedure delays during the survey period; personal protective equipment (PPE) and other treatment supplies are no longer key concerns for many facilities.

Most hospitals (50%-60%) in South Korea and Thailand are only conducting 40%-60% of elective/semi-elective procedure volumes. Meanwhile, elective procedures in the Philippines, Indonesia and India are conducted at significantly reduced volumes.

As hospitals are prioritizing elective procedure categories to ramp up, case severity and urgency of the procedures, clinical staff availability, and volume of backlogged cases are critical drivers. However, a majority of respondents (~70%) indicate that patients’ concern over safe care environment is limiting hospitals’ ability to perform a higher volume of elective procedures.

Digital engagement with healthcare professionals

The survey indicated that engagement of healthcare professionals by medical reps have been significantly restricted. Unsurprisingly, most healthcare professionals reported stronger uptake of digital engagement vs face-to-face. 

While a minority of digital engagement users (~20% of healthcare professionals) expect to revert to face-to-face post-COVID-19, a majority expects to continue or increase usage and these will form the early adopters from a larger user base.

In terms of pharma/medical device companies’ information resources, a majority of healthcare professionals (45%~55%) indicate product information, clinical research updates and diagnosis/treatment guidelines on the digital platform being the most useful.

A majority of healthcare professionals (40%~50%) indicate inadequate content, lack of localized content and poor platform design as key barriers to increasing remote/digital engagement tools usage. 

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