How COVID Changed Healthcare

Throughout the pandemic, hospital turnover increased by almost 20%. The average for the general workforce is around 4% — that’s a significant difference.

Physician burnout existed before the pandemic; however, it nearly doubled over the last two years.

And it’s not just healthcare workers feeling the effects of the pandemic — patients, large organizations, and small practices have all changed since 2020.

Some things have changed for the better, and others for the worse. Let’s explore how COVID changed healthcare and what it means for providers, their patients, and their colleagues.

Related: How MBT is Fueling the Wellness Revolution

COVID and Healthcare Worker Burnout

Burnout is nothing new in healthcare, but COVID fanned the flames of physician exhaustion with: 

  • An inability to recharge: Consider the difference between a poison and a medicine; the dose makes all the difference. Physicians have a driving curiosity and passion for healing the human condition. They have the motivation to make a difference and work hard. So why do they experience burnout? Because too much of anything can be harmful.
  • Microaggressions in the workplace: Becoming and being a physician is difficult and stressful enough without microaggressions from patients, families, and colleagues. You study continuously, work long hours, and must be exact in your actions. Throughout the pandemic, many people threw civility out the window, turning healthcare practices into hostile environments, leading to faster, more prominent cases of burnout.
  • Less personalized visits: There’s been a transition happening for years; many physicians who owned practices and were leaders in their communities went to being skilled employees for large health systems. And while there are positives for physicians, the attachments to efficiency metrics and EHR systems has led to less interaction with patients and colleagues.

These are all factors that contributed to physician burnout rates during COVID — so what are providers doing about it?

Doctors Looking to Change Their Disciplines

Physicians are more frustrated with the healthcare industry now than ever, and they’re looking for new ways to offer care. And in response, many are turning to functional medicine as a way to prevent burnout and get more in tune with their patients (and themselves).

This field offers doctors and nurses new ways to care for their patients by providing a more personalized approach and reestablishing the relationships that were lost during the height of COVID.

As burnout increases, functional medicine is helping physicians overcome the shortcomings of conventional medicine that are leading to burnout symptoms in the first place.

Healthcare changes are inevitable. Some are good. Some are not. As for doctors changing disciplines to combat burnout and the negative impacts that COVID had on the healthcare industry, moving toward functional medicine can be a rewarding and life-changing move.

Considering making the move to functional medicine? Learn how we help wellness practitioners find their ideal roles.

Patients Need to Trust Their Physicians

COVID didn’t just change healthcare for workers and organizations in the industry — it changed how patients perceive healthcare, too.

In the flurry of misinformation and changing policies that COVID brought to our everyday lives, many patients weren’t sure who to trust. Now, as we frequently get updates to new medical information, patients are looking to feel seen, to feel heard, and that their best interests are being prioritized for a different type of care — and physicians need to earn their trust.

Related: Fueling the Healthcare Revolution

In the post-COVID landscape, patients want personalized treatment plans instead of a quick fix for their symptoms. They want a provider who helps them identify why they aren’t feeling well rather than prescribing them a pill in hopes that it will solve their issues. 

This is why patients and physicians alike are turning to a functional medicine model and moving away from more conventional approaches.

Telehealth Plays a Vital Role in Post-Pandemic Healthcare

This 2022 report about telehealth post-pandemic shows how vital a role it will play in the future of healthcare.

Around three-quarters of surveyed patients plan to continue using telehealth services after the pandemic, and patients and providers agree that virtual care helps build trust.

Patients and doctors alike found telehealth easy and convenient, so much so that they want to keep using it routinely post-COVID.

Let’s explore some key findings from that report:

  • Over 73% of patients plan to receive all or some of their care through telehealth post-pandemic.
  • Two-thirds of physicians felt that telehealth helped them maintain trust within marginalized communities.
  • Patients like including their families in a virtual visit and feel safer compared to in-person visits in busy clinical settings.

Virtual Visits Do Have a Downside

Even though telehealth typically results in increased patient satisfaction, virtual visit detractors have pointed to the physician-patient relationship as one factor that they cannot maintain through telemedicine.

One reason is because many major online telehealth platforms direct patients to the first available provider — a downside that physicians can solve by offering in-house virtual care solutions.

And in a world where patients have ready access to their doctors, that detraction might hold up; but most patients face long waiting lists to see their providers, especially during COVID, shifting the balance.

Taking a New Approach to Care Post-Covid Is Crucial

While COVID brought on a lot of negative aspects as it relates to healthcare, there is a shift that’s happening. Let’s explore how healthcare professionals are taking a new approach to provide better care in a post-COVID setting.

The ever-growing solution is functional medicine — a model of care based on relationships, science, and creating better outcomes for healthcare workers, their patients, and their colleagues.

Whether it’s an in-person or virtual visit, functional medicine practitioners are fighting against the negative changes that COVID brought to the industry to bring their patients better care in an ever-changing landscape.

COVID changed healthcare, but that doesn’t mean you can’t provide your patients with expert service — see how we can help you take a new approach in the post-COVID landscape at Mindbody Talent.

Functional Medicine Helps Provide Better Care

There’s no doubt that COVID has changed healthcare as a whole. And while it brought higher rates of burnout and some less-than-desirable patient outcomes, there have been good changes, too.

The challenges brought on by the pandemic gave many healthcare professionals the push they needed to pursue other disciplines in the industry, particularly functional medicine.

The result is healthcare workers with more fulfilling careers and patients with better outcomes.

Related: Embracing Lifecycle Health

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