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GRG Health and L.E.K Consulting unveiled survey on “COVID-19: Sentiments in hospitals during pandemic”

GRG Health and L.E.K Consulting Limited came together and conducted a survey on - ‘COVID19’ revealing - sentiments of hospitals in the Asia Pacific region concerning the pandemic and what is on the other side

GRG Health and L.E.K Consulting Limited came together and conducted a survey on – ‘COVID19’ revealing – sentiments of hospitals in the Asia Pacific region concerning the pandemic and what is on the other side once this battle is won.

Of the respondents to the survey, a little over 70% stated their biggest concern was the lack of supply of personal protective equipment for staff. Nearly 70% of respondents in South East Asia, Japan and Australia, and China expressed such sentiment. The second most significant concern expressed was the shortage of non-COVID-19 medical supplies to treat patients. Nearly 40% of hospitals in South East Asia and India expressed this concern. 20% of Indian hospitals expressed the fears that they faced a shortage of staff. The survey also showed that the number of essential procedures in India, in 67% of hospitals, remained unchanged from the time before the pandemic. 33% of Indian hospitals revealed that critical operations were being conducted at lower volumes. Concerning non-essential services in India, 40% of respondents said they were being conducted with no change from before the pandemic; 53% said they were being done in lower numbers; 7% said they were not being undertaken.  The survey found that the morale of healthcare workers was very high in India. 

The study also revealed that in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Australia, 45%, 25%, 23%, and 20% of hospitals respectively expect to increase their reliance on tele-health.

When respondents were asked about how the pandemic will impact their use of telemedicine; nearly 80% of the respondents in India said they anticipate that tele-health will be used more often in the future. 20% of respondents said their use of telehealth will be unchanged from current levels. When asked what actions respondents would take to increase the usage of telemedicine, 61% stated they would invest in patient education to make them more aware of telehealth solutions.56% expected to partner with telehealth solutions providers; 53% stated they would invest in physician education and provide incentives to doctors to become more familiar with telehealth solutions. 39% of respondents said they would invest in enabling infrastructure while 34% said they would invest in telehealth solutions for their hospital.

Speaking about the results of the study Mr Manan Sethi, Partner & Associate Director, GRG Health said “The survey on COVID-19 has highlighted that there is a movement afoot to adopt telemedicine. In India, according to the survey, 80% of hospitals are considering adopting telemedicine. In a vast country like India, it is a cure-all to much of the country’s healthcare shortcomings. The survey has put its finger on the pulse of the healthcare industry by identifying that healthcare workers see telehealth as a viable means of providing healthcare to the masses. The study highlights that once the pandemic passes, there will be increased demand for telehealth in India and abroad”.

For this survey, 105 hospitals participated in the survey across the Asia Pacific region. Of these hospitals, 41% were public while the remainder were private. Among the respondents to the survey, 82% were surgeons or clinical staff, while 18% were administrators. Of the hospitals surveyed, 51% had more than 500 beds, 23% had between 251-500 beds, 17% had between 151-250 beds, and 9% had between 101-150 beds. Among the surveyed hospitals, 14% each were in China, India, Japan, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

Summary / key highlights

  • The report revealed that hospitals in the Asia Pacific are most concerned about the lack of availability of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical supplies. More than 40% of hospitals surveyed expressed concerns about a PPE shortage.
  • In China, as hospitals begin resuming procedures unrelated to COVID-19- aka elective procedures- 60% of hospitals revealed they worry about the availability of non-COVID-19 medical supplies.
  • 60% of hospitals are conducting fewer elective and semi-elective procedures because they want to save resources that can help treat COVID-19 patients.
  • In China and Australia, hospitals are cautious about restarting procedures that are non-essential because they wish to conserve medical supplies for critical cases.
  • Over 50% of hospitals stated their decision to restart elective procedures would be based on government directives, a reduction in the infection rate of COVID-19, and hospitalisation rates. 40% of hospitals who responded to the survey revealed they didn’t have supplies to deal with non-COVID-19 cases.
  • With the number of COVID-19 cases dropping precipitously in China, Japan, and Thailand, more than 90% of hospitals in these regions expect to restart elective procedures by the beginning of June. In countries like India, Indonesia, and the Philippines where the COVID-19 pandemic is yet to peak, hospitals expect to resume elective procedures only towards the end of 2020’s third quarter.
  • In the Asia Pacific region, the majority of hospitals, approximately 80%, feel prepared to handle the COVID-19 pandemic. They report that the morale of their staff is very high. Only between 15%-20% of hospitals in Indonesia and the Philippines feel unprepared to handle the outbreak. A likely reason for their unpreparedness is there has been a surge of COVID-19 cases in these countries over the past two weeks.
  • The report shows that COVID-19s impact on inpatient capacity across the Asia-Pacific region varies by region. In China- which was at the centre of the pandemic and the first to take preventative measures- hospitals operations have returned to normal. In other APAC countries, most hospitals are still at or over capacity.
  • In India, Indonesia, and the Philippines, where COVID-19 cases are still increasing, the overall healthcare system is under considerable strain.
  • Hospitals are thinking about the post-COVID-19 world. In preparation for this world, their top priorities are readying staff to return to regular shifts, securing sufficient medical supplies, and resuming elective procedures.
  • The report revealed that in the post-COVID-19 world, 70%-80% of hospitals will invest significantly in infection prevention and will maintain practices that help conserve PPE. After the COVID-19 pandemic passes, 40% of hospitals expect to increase clinical staff. Also, after COVID-19, hospitals hope manufacturers will help them mitigate supply risk and exercise greater control over product delivery.
  • The report also revealed that approximately 40% of hospitals in the Asia Pacific region would use telehealth at significantly higher levels than they did before the pandemic. Of APAC countries, Japan’s use of telemedicine will be lowest as the Japanese have a strong preference for in-office hospital visits. In South-East Asia, 60% of hospitals expect to provide more telehealth services than they did before the pandemic. Chief among these countries are India and Australia. Only 40% of those who responded to the survey used to compile the report stated they expect a decrease in telehealth and expressed a preference for in-office visits, inadequate infrastructure, and a lack of regulatory and reimbursement policy as barriers to adopting telemedicine.

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