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Changes COVID-19 Has Brought to Healthcare
The pandemic has impacted all aspects of everyone’s lives. The field of healthcare has experienced some of the biggest shifts as COVID-19 has put a huge strain on medical personnel and resources. The novel coronavirus has changed who provides healthcare, where healthcare takes place, and who receives healthcare—perhaps forever.
Who provides healthcare?
A pre-pandemic study conducted in 2019 spurred the Association of American Medical Colleges to predict a shortage of up to 124,000 doctors by 2034.1 A more recent survey conducted by Morning Consult in September 2021 revealed that nearly one in five healthcare workers had quit their job since February 2020 and another one in five had considered leaving the medical field.2 The impending shortage was predicted due to increased demands on the healthcare industry by a growing aging population. But burnout and other factors could accelerate the shortage, as the Morning Consult survey indicates.
However, a solution to the coming physician shortage is available: medical personnel who are not doctors, such as physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurses, could perform a bigger role than they already do in patient care. The organizations that set scope-of-practice rules, like state medical boards and the government, would need to make changes to allow that to happen on a permanent basis.
Where does healthcare take place?
Once upon a time, you had to make an appointment with a medical provider to get a medical test or a vaccination. The need for coronavirus testing and the effort to make the coronavirus vaccine widely available generated drive-through and pop-up medicine, rapidly making medical assistance available to more people in more places.
In addition to parking lots becoming testing and vaccination sites, now many people can see a doctor via computer. At the beginning of the pandemic, the use of telehealth, or virtual doctor visits, surged. Telehealth usage has dipped since its peak usage in April 2020, but as of February 2021, telehealth utilization had stabilized at a rate of usage 38 times higher than pre-pandemic levels.3 Telemedicine can reduce costs and can potentially make medical care more accessible to underserved areas and populations. And it can help keep participants healthy by reducing both patients’ and doctors’ potential exposure to diseases.
Who receives healthcare?
The harrowing coronavirus statistics have highlighted racial inequities in healthcare. According to the Associated Press (AP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that Hispanics/Latinos, Blacks, and Native Americans are two to three times more likely to die of COVID-19 than white people, after adjusting for differences in population ages. And an analysis by the AP revealed that younger Hispanics/Latinos have been dying of COVID at higher rates than other groups.4
Public health experts agree that there are longstanding inequities in healthcare, and the disparities in COVID-19 infection rates and outcomes among different ethnic groups underscore those inequities. But the responses to coronavirus may ultimately make healthcare more accessible to underserved groups. By bringing new ideas, like pop-up healthcare, into rural and underserved neighborhoods, perhaps staffed by nondoctor medical personnel, and by making telemedicine more available—along with the necessary equipment and internet access to support it—perhaps healthcare will be provided to more people more equitably.
If you want to be on the forefront of change in the healthcare industry, you might consider earning a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA). When you study to earn your MHA degree, you’ll learn about the trends, policies, and laws that impact health systems. You can examine the best practices in the field, explore the latest technologies in use, and develop valuable business skills.
Walden University is the No. 1 granter of healthcare administration master’s degrees in the U.S.5 The accredited university’s online master’s in healthcare administration degree program is aligned with the National Center for Healthcare Leadership (NCHL) model. Walden’s MHA coursework combines practical competencies with industry knowledge for excellence in healthcare leadership.
In Walden’s MHA degree program, you can choose the general program or one of four specializations: Leadership and Organizational Development, Population Health, Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation, or Systems and Policy. Walden’s MHA general program and specializations are offered in an online, course-based format, and the general program is also available in Walden’s competency-based Tempo Learning® format.
The Tempo Learning® competency-based format is all-you-can-learn: You subscribe to three-month learning segments and the progress you make during a learning period is up to you. With no set weekly deadlines, this format allows you to study at your own pace and move ahead by completing competencies—the skills, knowledge, and abilities that demonstrate your progress.
No matter which format or specialization you choose, Walden’s MHA degree program can help prepare you for a rewarding career as a healthcare change-maker.
Walden University is an accredited institution offering a Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) degree program online. Expand your career options and earn your degree using a convenient, flexible learning platform that fits your busy life.
5Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database from 2013–2019. Based on the most recent year of completions survey data available, using CIP code 51.0701 “Master’s degree – Health/Health Care Administration/Management” for master’s degrees (Award level 7). Available at https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/use-the-data. (Retrieved July 2021; may consist of or include provisional release data.)
Note on Licensure: The Master of Healthcare Administration (MHA) is not a licensure-leading program and does not prepare an individual to become a licensed professional in healthcare administration, healthcare leadership, nursing home administration, or other similar positions.
Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, www.hlcommission.org.
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