Suppliers, payers and pharma got here collectively to sort out the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s in retailer for the trio after the pandemic?

Nothing brings healthcare stakeholders collectively like a pandemic  from a speedy vaccine rollout to organising telehealth platforms inside weeks, suppliers, payers and the pharmaceutical business needed to work collectively to climate the modifications introduced on by COVID-19.

So what’s subsequent for these healthcare business partnerships when the pandemic is over? Within the HIMSS21 Digital panel What’s Subsequent: Payer-Supplier-Pharma Relationships in a Put up-Pandemic Panorama, panelists Dr. Shantanu Nundy, chief medical officer at Accolade, and Saira Haque, PhD, senior director for medical informatics at Pfizer, talk about how the pandemic has modified partnerships and what the business can be taught from the previous 12 months.


Nundy discovered it was highly effective for various healthcare stakeholders to band collectively round one bold goal: getting photographs in arms, a objective that’s nonetheless underway. Practically half of People are absolutely vaccinated, in line with the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention

If the business can collaborate across the improvement and distribution of a vaccine, it’s attainable to focus on different well being targets, like lowering blood strain, mentioned Nundy.

For Haque, collaboration wasn’t new for a lot of healthcare business gamers. However the vaccine rollout was a distinct animal.

“I feel what was completely different this time was the diploma of collaboration and the place it spanned,” Haque mentioned. “It was in each section from vaccine improvement by manufacturing, rollout and naturally getting all of the related approvals, and eventually to distribution and administration.”


Nundy, who additionally practices in a safety-net clinic, mentioned he had by no means performed a telehealth go to previous to the pandemic. However his clinic was in a position to transition to telehealth rapidly initially of the emergency, shifting to 80% digital care inside two weeks. He estimates round 30% to 40% of his appointments are nonetheless performed by telehealth.

“We’ve discovered to belief care delivered nearly,” Nundy mentioned.

Earlier than the pandemic, one barrier to telehealth adoption was an absence of knowledge, Haque mentioned. Though there have been loads of smaller pilot research, there wasn’t sufficient data on utilization, value and high quality to drive large-scale coverage change. 

However COVID-19 created a form of “pure experiment” to have a look at telehealth’s affect, like supplier workload and affected person satisfaction.

Haque steered telehealth might additionally broaden exterior the supplier house, together with social staff, diabetes educators and care coordinators.

“If we are able to try this, we are able to actually present extra complete care,” she mentioned. “After which the setting isn’t actually as related as ensuring we are able to present care in a means that does not present too many limitations for the affected person.”


The general public well being sector has been massively underfunded, mentioned Nundy. In accordance with a 2021 report by Belief for America’s Well being, the CDC’s core finances has decreased by 2% over the past 10 years when accounting for inflation. And from 2008 to 2019, the variety of full-time native public well being staff fell by 16%. State well being businesses misplaced virtually 10% of their workforce between 2012 and 2019.

Individuals don’t pay sufficient consideration to public well being till it’s wanted, Haque mentioned. 

“I might like to see an elevated deal with public well being and having public well being officers extra concerned in a few of these conversations going ahead,” she mentioned.

Public well being has a big impact on well being fairness, mentioned Nundy, arguing the healthcare system is already lacking an enormous portion of the inhabitants if care solely begins when somebody steps right into a clinic.

“Investing within the personal sector and innovation isn’t an alternative to investing in public well being.”

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