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COVID-19 revealing – sentiments of hospitals in Asia Pacific: GRG Health, LEK Consulting survey

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Nearly 70 per cent of respondents in South-East Asia, Japan, Australia, China expressed their biggest concern was lack of supply of personal protective equipment for staff

GRG Health and LEK Consulting came together and conducted a survey on – ‘COVID-19’ revealing – sentiments of hospitals in the Asia Pacific region concerning the pandemic and what is on the other side once this battle is won.

 Of the respondents to the survey, a little over 70 per cent stated their biggest concern was the lack of supply of personal protective equipment for staff. Nearly 70 per cent of respondents in South-East Asia, Japan and Australia, and China expressed such sentiment. The second most significant concern expressed was the shortage of non-COVID-19 medical supplies to treat patients. Nearly 40 per cent of hospitals in South-East Asia and India expressed this concern. 20 per cent of Indian hospitals expressed the fears that they faced a shortage of staff. The survey also showed that the number of essential procedures in India, in 67 per cent of hospitals, remained unchanged from the time before the pandemic. 33 per cent of Indian hospitals revealed that critical operations were being conducted at lower volumes. Concerning non-essential services in India, 40 per cent of respondents said they were being conducted with no change from before the pandemic; 53 per cent said they were being done in lower numbers; 7 per cent said they were not being undertaken. The survey found that the morale of healthcare workers was very high in India. 

The study also revealed that in the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, and Australia, 45 per cent, 25 per cent, 23 per cent, and 20 per cent of hospitals respectively expect to increase their reliance on telehealth.

When respondents were asked about how the pandemic will impact their use of telemedicine; nearly 80 per cent of the respondents in India said they anticipate that telehealth will be used more often in the future. 20 per cent of respondents said their use of telehealth will be unchanged from current levels. When asked what actions respondents would take to increase the usage of telemedicine, 61 per cent stated they would invest in patient education to make them more aware of telehealth solutions. 56 per cent expected to partner with telehealth solutions providers; 53 per cent stated they would invest in physician education and provide incentives to doctors to become more familiar with telehealth solutions. 39 per cent of respondents said they would invest in enabling infrastructure while 34 per cent said they would invest in telehealth solutions for their hospital.

Speaking about the results of the study Manan Sethi, Partner & Associate Director, GRG Health said, “The survey on COVID-19 has highlighted that there is a movement afoot to adopt telemedicine. In India, according to the survey, 80 per cent of hospitals are considering adopting telemedicine. In a vast country like India, it is a cure-all to much of the country’s healthcare shortcomings. The survey has put its finger on the pulse of the healthcare industry by identifying that healthcare workers see telehealth as a viable means of providing healthcare to the masses. The study highlights that once the pandemic passes, there will be increased demand for telehealth in India and abroad”.

For this survey, 105 hospitals participated in the survey across the Asia Pacific region. Of these hospitals, 41 per cent were public while the remainder were private. Among the respondents to the survey, 82 per cent were surgeons or clinical staff, while 18 per cent were administrators. Of the hospitals surveyed, 51 per cent had more than 500 beds, 23 per cent had between 251-500 beds, 17 per cent had between 151-250 beds, and 9 per cent had between 101-150 beds. Among the surveyed hospitals, 14 per cent each were in China, India, Japan, Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, and the Philippines.

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