HBD-Blog 5

It’s not equal: Healthcare departments experience different levels of pandemic hurt

August 31, 2021
August 31, 2021

This blog post is part of our 2021 series on Healthcare’s Big Disruption.

More than 900 healthcare leaders responded to HealthStream's April 2021 survey focused on healthcare's recent past, current experiences during the COVID-19 pandemic, and expectations about where the industry is headed in the future.

Assessing the impact of COVID-19

HealthStream asked, "On a scale of 1 (highly devastating) to 10 (not at all devastating), how devastating has the pandemic been to your organization?" and supplied the following rating scale: 1-3 = Highly Devastating, 4-7 = Somewhat Devastating, and 8-10 = Not at All Devastating. 

83.8% of respondents definitively answered either "somewhat devastating" or "highly devastating." 

These five departments reported the most devastation:

  • Operations
  • Finance/Billing
  • Education
  • Compliance
  • Executive Leadership

For context, 54% of these survey respondents listed their care setting as a hospital that is part of a health system. 17% listed a corporate office of a health system and 15% listed a stand-alone hospital. 

How healthcare organizations and hospitals can respond in the aftermath of COVID-19

With preparedness more important than ever, chief operations officers (COOs) will need to focus on contingency plans for maintaining operations even when parts of the organization are overwhelmed by disaster response. Chief financial officers (CFOs) will be tasked with finding savings everywhere possible so that their organizations can weather the financial impact of COVID-19 and future disasters. Chief learning officers (CLOs) need to take a hard look at eliminating expensive, resource-dependent classroom learning whenever possible, as well as incorporating more options for cross-training staff. Compliance officers need to be prepared for the re-imposition of regulatory frameworks once emergency operations are no longer a necessity. Executive leadership can look at their organizations from the top down and see many ways they need to encourage more change to spur readiness and greater resilience for future challenges.

COVID-19's impact will be felt for a long time

Another part of this survey asked executives to agree or disagree with 10 aspects of the pandemic and its aftermath. Not surprisingly, leaders were most likely to agree with the following statements:

  • The pandemic is the worst health crisis I have faced in my lifetime.
  • This pandemic will forever change how we operate our facility.

Leaders are feeling the pain of COVID-19 and thinking about ways their organizations can change to accommodate its impact. 

The power of disruption

HealthStream's new eBook—Healthcare's Big Disruption, From Disruption to Optimism: How healthcare leaders are prioritizing change in light of the pandemic—details the results from our 2021 survey. Will the devastation and disruption caused by COVID-19 create meaningful change within healthcare? Robin Rose, Vice President Healthcare Resource Group, explores implications for healthcare's imminent evolution in three eBook articles.

Download the eBook