COVID-19 Impact on Pharmaceutical Packaging in Chemicals and Materials Industry

COVID-19 Impact on Home Healthcare in Healthcare Industry

  • Healthcare
  • Mar 01, 2021

COVID-19 Impact on Home Healthcare in Healthcare Industry

The emergence of COVID-19 in March 2020 caught everyone off-guard. The deadly disease is caused by the SARS CoV-2 virus which spreads rapidly through close contact with the affected person. To put a halt to the extensive spread of the virus across the globe, a complete lockdown was announced. The traveling was stopped, borders were sealed and the trade was affected. The impact of COVID-19 was huge on the economy throughout the world. The markets in different domains were affected. Pharmaceuticals and medical technology was no exception.

With the surging cases of COVID-19, people were advised to stay inside their homes as a part of the lockdown advisory. As suggested by World Health Organization (WHO), the elderly, people with existing co-morbidities children were strictly advised to not go outside their homes. People were switching to home healthcare systems to continue their treatment for existing medical conditions, thereby reducing the risk of going to the hospitals and healthcare clinics. Growing preference for home healthcare propelled the pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing companies to develop devices that can be used in the comfort of the home and simultaneously provide continuous monitoring of pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes.

IMPACT ON THE PRICE

As the pandemic emerged, the prices of healthcare services rose including hospital stays. The management of patients suffering from coronavirus, patients with pre-existing chronic illnesses, and the ones that require critical care cost lakhs of rupees per day. The prices skyrocketed during the pandemic in hospitals and medical centers. People looked for alternatives and preferred home care systems also minimizing the risk of catching the infection during hospital visitations. According to an article, the state governments in India capped the prices of hospital care ranging from 1 lakh to 3 lakh depending on the condition of the patient.

On the contrary, the price range for homecare systems was calculated between 2,000-3,000 including the rentals of the essential medical equipment. If calculated for a 15-day service, the total came around just 75,000 inclusive of all the other miscellaneous services. The government was initiated to provide the benefit of subsidies or even give out grant support to the service providers.

Even though healthcare in private settings became expensive, home healthcare systems came to a rescue to treat patients both with coronavirus and other critical conditions.

IMPACT ON DEMAND

As the lockdown was imposed worldwide, people were stuck at home and were required to continue with their ongoing treatments for the chronic illnesses at home only. As there was a special advisory for co-morbid conditions, the elderly, among others, demand for home healthcare shot up during the worldwide lockdown. Many companies providing such medical services observed a rise in the demand for their facilities, as the home care service providers were able to fill the void between the patients and the healthcare facilities. Along with that, smart devices that can continuously monitor various symptoms of numerous medical chronic illnesses were cleared by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or were given Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) instead of COVID-19.

For instance,

  •  Portea Medical is a home care service provider in India, which has a very broad portfolio of services such as critical care, diabetes care, and lab testing medical equipment among others. According to a news article, MD and CEO of Portea Medical told that they observed a spurt in the demand for home care services as people were becoming more aware about their portfolio. She told the news tabloid that they saw a 60% rise in the demand for their services. The company also observed the surge in calls for remote consultation on their telemedicine helpline numbers.
  • Nightingale, a home care healthcare service division of Medwell Ventures Pvt. Ltd. also observed a rise in the demand for the health care services rose up by 20% in March 2020 when the lockdown had just been imposed. According to the CEO of the Medwell Ventures Pvt. Ltd., Post lockdown, the demand grew by 40% as states across India were opting for home quarantine. Thus, this became a statistical validation to the adoption of healthcare services at home.
  • Dexcom received the temporary use authorization by Health Canada of Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitoring system for pregnant women suffering from Type 1, Type 2 or gestational devices. During the times of the pandemic, this has enabled them to monitor their glucose levels from comfort of their homes, thus reducing the risk of visiting hospitals and clinics.

IMPACT ON SUPPLY

As the world came to a standstill, travel and transportation services were stopped across the globe. The borders were sealed to contain the spread of the virus. The trade practices also faced major challenges during the pandemic. Consequently, The supply of pharmaceutical drugs and other medical devices their import, export, and local transportation were grave. As for people with chronic illnesses and critical patients, the timely delivery of medicines and medical care was paramount. Even for people with manageable chronic diseases the supplies of medicines were important. Many major market players kept a close on their supply chain management and took initiatives to keep with the demand among the end-users.

For instance,

  • Abbott, a global company dealing with pharmaceutical drug and medical devices manufacturing came forward to manage and meet the demands of their customers. In order to maintain the continuous supply of their products, they kept a close eye on the level of their inventory of finished products. They also monitored the key components required in the making of their products. Along with that, they closely observed the raw materials that were critical in the making of the products at various levels across their manufacturing and supply chain thereby maintaining access to their products and technologies.

STRATEGIES INTIATIATIVES BY MANUFACTURERS

With the emergence of COVID-19, the safety of patients and employees working across the companies providing healthcare services became paramount. Many pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturing companies took initiatives in order to keep up with their operations and simultaneously following safety practices. Many major players in the market developed devices that helped the people with chronic illnesses to manage the symptoms and reduce the hospital visits.

For instance,

  • Abbott, a pharmaceutical, medical devices and diagnostics company developed FreeStyle Libre 14 to monitor glucose levels for people suffering from diabetes at home. This medical device was made available in the hospitals to remotely monitor glucose levels along with the history of patients suffering from the disease and who can scan the levels by themselves
  • Abbott also partnered with American Diabetes Association along with some other organizations and donated approximately 25,000 FreeStyle Libre 14 day sensors in hospitals and other healthcare centers located in COVID-19 hotspots
  • Portea Medical, a home care service provider in India, collaborated with Delhi Government in order to set up and provide home isolation services for patient’s diagnosed coronavirus. As more than 80 percent patients are asymptomatic, they can be screened for home isolation. These patients were monitored remotely through an extensive monitoring system. They also submit medical reports tracking the conditions of their patients and also flagged of patients showing complications from the disease

CONCLUSION

With the mystery around the disease remains unsolved at many levels, the management of healthcare becomes imperative. The safety of the people is paramount and initiatives are being taken to get people through this unprecedented scenario. The demand for home care services has increased in the past year owing to the stay-at-home order to contain the infection. The trend is said to remain the same in the coming years as home care systems will bring down hospital visits and consultation costs along with providing services at the comfort of homes.