COVID-19: crisis management experiences in the private healthcare industry
COVID-19: crisis management experiences in the private healthcare industryMarianna Cavazza, Mario Del Vecchio, Lorenzo Fenech, Laura Giudice, Erika Mallarini, Luigi M. Preti, Valeria Rappini
The healthcare sector has been at the center of the Covid-19 emergency. Health systems, and hospitals especially, were the first required to respond to the virus impacts. In order to take care of patients, guarantee safety and keep running organizations health providers had to revise their organizational and managerial processes. Wards and even whole facilities were transformed into areas dedicated entirely to the care of Covid-19 affected patients. Field hospitals were put in action and personnel were transferred in the most severely hit areas; equipment, medical devices and PPE where in high demand; new ways to keep in touch with patients while respecting physical distancing norms were developed. The extraordinary nature of the events and the peculiar traits of the Sars-Cov2 virus, such has its high contagiousness, have not allowed the prompt development of a shared system’s strategy; regulators and organizations, especially in the early days of the emergency, had to improvise on a day to day basis, to handle the crisis. This scenario involved all the players of the healthcare sector, which is typically the result of a combination of public and private resources, as well as private and public providers. Figure 1 provides a well-known framework representation of the Public and Private mix in healthcare systems. In Italy, quadrant number 2 (public financing and production) was under the spot-light, partly due to its relevant weight when it comes to inpatient care. More than three quarters of inpatient services are indeed provided by public hospitals. Yet, Covid-19 has had disruptive effects also on quadrant number 1 and number 3, commonly known as “private healthcare”. This what we will call as the “Private Healthcare Industry” and includes a broad variety of players: providers of healthcare services, both accredited with the public health service (either for-profit or not-for-profit in nature) and non-accredited, category associations and player of private health insurance sector. For most of these players it was immediately clear that the needs and dynamics of the public system were an essential reference point: primarily, as the vast majority of demand for private services had vanished in the early days of the Covid-19 crisis due to the new restrictions; secondly, it should be noted that a generalized “retour to the public system” phenomenon has been interesting the whole sectors and is likely to remain a distinctive trait of the medium-term healthcare scenario. The Observatory on Privately financed healthcare consumption (OCPS), that focuses on the study of privately financed consumption in healthcare (number 3 and number 4 quadrants), has been claiming for a long time that the healthcare sector is characterized by strong interconnections which contribute to make the health system increasingly more hybrid, if considered along the traditional public-private divide. This work therefore aims at investigating, on one side, the effects and the responses put in action by the private healthcare industry during the Covid crisis and, on the other side, what can be considered the changes expected to occur in this field in the medium term. The areas of investigation are the following: (1) the consequences of the Covid emergency in terms of management of internal operations, on relationships with the environment and on the volumes of activity; (2) the introduction of new services and solutions within organizations and at the benefit of users; (3) the perceived impact of the emergency on the sector sustainability.
#Covid-19 #crisis management #private healthcare