Remote Operations: Adapting to a Crisis Does Not Mean Idle

Whitehurst Health Fidelity CEO

The healthcare industry is coming online in pockets, but normalcy is a long way off. As I mentioned previously, Health Fidelity is remote, we closed our physical locations prior to shelter orders and remote work has not inhibited our productivity. Our deliverables have been on track and my faith in my team has been consistently rewarded as the staff of Health Fidelity has not only performed but come together in mutual support of each other.

However, navigating a crisis doesn’t mean staying in a holding pattern; it means we have to adapt to new challenges while we execute on the unimpaired initiatives we set out to accomplish this year. We still have established corporate goals that we still expect to meet, and idleness can make a difficult situation worse. Moreover, very frankly, we work in healthcare; this is no time to let our clients down. Today I’m going to share a couple of examples that illustrate how we’re thinking strategically about supporting our clients beyond the crisis to bolster their success.

Understand the Whole Challenge, Offer a Complete Solution
Despite the massive pressure placed on healthcare organizations to treat patients with COVID-19, patient volumes are down. This means furloughs and layoffs outside of necessary clinical resources, even including some physicians. It’s no secret that IT teams were hit hard at health systems. That is, I think, going to lead to a longer tail on the crisis for healthcare than many people realize. Even as patient flow returns to normal, (or rebounding above averages as patients managing chronic conditions play catch-up), it’s going to take time for providers to ramp back up to full strength, and until a vaccine is developed, COVID-19 will still be an ongoing challenge. Normally, scale can be attained quickly through technology and automation, but without the expertise on-staff to implement solutions, this will result in further delays and extended time frames.

Still, waiting isn’t an option, which leaves Health Fidelity and companies like us with challenges, but also opportunities, both of which we are considering as we decide how to address this situation. Therefore, even as we develop tools that can directly accelerate the economic recovery and/or support operations under pandemic conditions, providers won’t be able to leverage them when they need them most without sufficient resources, IT or otherwise. This reality has spurred us to develop new technology and packages that can reduce the implementation burden on those departments.

Providing Solutions Means More than Technology
Providers are just beginning to understand the long-term implications of COVID-19 and how deeply disruptions to fee-for-service and specialist care will impact financial stability. While payers have not experienced the same immediate fallout, they will see cost and utilization spikes later this year and early next as routine care resumes and Medicaid enrollment jumps.

The interconnected nature of our role in the market, working with payers and providers alike, gives us a look inside multiple facets of the market. That proximity, combined with our investor, advisor, and internal network, gives us the ability to reliably anticipate what lies ahead.

A positive side effect resulting from several client conversations has been the opportunity to create a direct connection between peers within our network. Our larger community is strengthened when these connections collaborate on COVID-19 problem-solving. From a purely business sense, it leads to a “softer” return, (even with Health Fidelity remote operations remaining) but reliability, loyalty, and being viewed as a thought leader is important too. I’m not the kind of CEO who derives joy from seeing someone struggle, so, if I can actively mitigate that for clients, even outside of any sales opportunity, I’m happy we can do that.