With over half a million cases worldwide and hundreds of thousands or even millions more cases predicted over the coming months, the healthcare industry has been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and the worst is yet to come. Though the challenges facing healthcare entrepreneurs in the current environment are immense, there are also opportunities to fill the needs created by the current crisis.
- Healthcare Apps
With hospitals becoming overrun with COVID-19 patients and social distancing guidelines recommending that people avoid in-person medical visits for all but critical care, there is a growing need for people to be able to access healthcare remotely. Healthcare apps that allow patients to self-screen symptoms, video chat with doctors or nurses, fill prescription medication, get questions answered and otherwise manage their healthcare without risking exposure or adding to the workload of overburdened medical facilities will be vital to combating this pandemic.
- Care Centers
As more hospitals are forced to devote the majority of their resources to dealing with COVID-19 cases, there will be a need for patients with chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, cancer and autoimmune disorders to access care outside of the traditional hospital setting. Care centers for specific conditions can address this need, while also providing more specialized forms of care.
- Home Healthcare Services
The need for social distancing, particularly for vulnerable populations, such as the elderly, will likely continue for months. The risk to vulnerable patients can be reduced by providing them with healthcare in their homes, rather than exposing them to other patients in a hospital or clinical setting.
- Childbirth Centers
Pregnant women are at high risk for severe outcomes with COVID-19 infection. Childbirth centers offer women more options, such as midwives and doulas, than traditional hospital settings and a potentially lower risk of exposure to COVID-19.
- Medical Websites
Patients who wish to avoid overcrowded hospitals and doctor’s offices will be looking for medical information online. In particular, websites that can help patients determine how to manage non-critical conditions at home, how to recognize when they need to seek critical care and how to locate available care will be helpful. Websites that focus on dealing with anxiety and other mental health conditions caused or made worse by the pandemic and resulting social isolation may also be in demand.
- Medical Supplies
Consumers are ordering everything from groceries to pet supplies online to avoid exposure to Coronavirus. There will likely be a growing demand for businesses that can ship medical supplies directly to patients’ homes.
- Personal Protective Equipment
The World Health Organization has called for the industry to increase the production of personal protective equipment by 40% to combat widespread shortages. With hospitals and clinics facing massive shortages of surgical masks, gowns, and N95 masks, there will likely be increased demand for personal protective gear for months or even years to come. Technology, such as 3D printing, may make it possible for entrepreneurs to rapidly-produce needed protective equipment, such as face shields.
Telemedicine services have long been promoted as a solution for lack of health care in rural areas, but have now become even more valuable as healthcare professionals seek to find ways to treat patients without physically exposing them to people who may have contracted Coronavirus. Additionally, barriers that have kept some patients from accessing telemedicine services, such as lack of insurance coverage, are being removed to combat the virus. In some areas dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks, telemedicine visits have increased as much as 700%.
Adequate testing will be one of the keys to bringing the COVID-19 outbreak under control. Opportunities will exist for manufacturing and administering tests. Many communities are implementing drive-thru testing facilities to increase testing capacity and reduce the amount of contact with potentially contagious people. Additionally, tests that are faster and more accurate will be particularly valuable. Innovators in the field of medical testing, such as OncoCellMDx, lead by chairman Harry Stylli, may be called upon to find new, better ways to administer the testing process.
While most of the current focus is on testing for and treating COVID-19 cases, there will be increasing demand for treatments and vaccines, as well as research that provides a better understanding of how the virus spreads, why it affects different patients differently, and whether and when people who have survived the virus may develop immunity. While the CDC and other government agencies will no doubt conduct their own research, there will be many opportunities for private companies to contribute.
The COVID-19 pandemic is placing tremendous strain on the healthcare industry. This strain has also created an opportunity for healthcare entrepreneurs to develop innovative products that can address the critical needs of patients and healthcare providers during this difficult time.
Author Bio: Daniel Bailey is a known content writer from California, USA. He writes content in different niches such as social media marketing, finance, business, etc. He’s a day time blogger and night time reader currently working for some blogs. He enjoys pie, as should all right-thinking people.