Lack of supply of PPE is the biggest concern for hospitals in South East Asia: Survey

The second most significant concern was the shortage of non-COVID-19 medical supplies to treat patients

PPE kits, Survey, South East Asia, Tele-health, LEK Consulting Limited, GRG Health

The biggest concern amongst hospitals is the lack of supply of personal protective equipment (PPE) for staff, as per a survey conducted by GRG Health and LEK Consulting Limited. Nearly 70% of respondents in South East Asia, Japan, and Australia, and China expressed such a sentiment.

The second most significant concern expressed was the shortage of non-COVID-19 medical supplies to treat patients. Nearly 40% of hospitals in South East Asia and India expressed this concern, and 20% of Indian hospitals expressed the fears that they faced a shortage of staff.

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

The survey also showed that the number of essential procedures in India, in 67% of hospitals, remained unchanged from the time before the pandemic. And 33% of Indian hospitals revealed that critical operations were being conducted at lower volumes. Concerning non-essential services in India, 40% of respondents said they were being conducted with no change from before the pandemic; 53% said they were being done in lower numbers; 7% 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%, 25%, 23%, and 20% 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% of the respondents in India said they anticipate that telehealth will be used more often in the future. 20% 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% stated they would invest in patient education to make them more aware of telehealth solutions.56% expected to partner with telehealth solutions providers; 53% stated they would invest in physician education and provide incentives to doctors to become more familiar with telehealth solutions. 39% of respondents said they would invest in enabling infrastructure while 34% 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% 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."