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New Study Forecasts How COVID-19 Concerns May Affect Elective Procedures, Budgets and Hospital Access

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz.–()–The Alexander Group, Inc., a revenue growth consultancy, announces insights from its most recent Provider Learnings and Future Planning Survey – Wave II. Hospital leaders from 37 states, who are engaged with facilities ranging from 100 to 4,000 beds, indicate that many in the industry believe the worst impacts of COVID-19 are behind us. While hospitals are still experiencing a reduction in elective procedure volume, they are slowly beginning to see a return to pre-COVID-19 levels. The reduction in elective procedures, however, does cast a shadow on hospital operating and capital budgets which will ultimately impact vendors, facility headcount and necessitate new strategies to counter-effect revenue decline.

The survey shows that the reduction in elective procedures first seen at the onset of COVID-19 resulted in the cost of more than $50 billion monthly in March, April, May and June and continues to impact the healthcare industry. Craig Ackerman, principal and healthcare practice lead at Alexander Group, explains, “When we look at elective procedures, they are currently at 80% of pre-COVID-19 levels. We bounced off the bottom low of around 20%. But we are not expected to return to 100% until the second half of 2021.” The primary motivator for procedure reductions are the patients themselves. Hospital leaders say patients are reluctant to book non-emergency surgery amid the pandemic.

“Given the fact that elective procedures are down, it’s no surprise hospitals are cutting both capital and operating budgets,” Ackerman stated. The top items targeted for cost reductions are capital expenditures including infrastructure and equipment investments. As for operating budgets, hospitals say they are likely to spend less with vendors and are projecting job cuts within their facilities.

While operators are hopeful to see a rebound in procedures and revenue bounce backs, the temporary access restrictions adopted early in the pandemic may be a more-permanent fixture. Alexander Group’s survey shows that 50% of respondents expect decreased access for medical vendors in the future, but that is an increase of 9% since an earlier survey in May. Many healthcare providers do not expect vendor access to ever fully return to pre-COVID-19 levels.

The survey identifies significant pressure points for hospitals and medical care vendors alike, yet there are solutions on the horizon to help organizations adjust in this transformative time. Hospitals are leaning on virtual telehealth tools to supplement patient marketing to engage potential patients, increase awareness about elective procedures and drive demand. Likewise, vendors need to adapt how they support hospital customers by also embracing virtual vendor support options to overcome the barrier to physical access to facilities.

The Provider Learnings and Future Planning Survey – Wave II includes detailed information by geographic region and insights from respected hospital leaders who indicate that the lasting impact of COVID-19 on healthcare should not be underestimated, and permanent changes to the patient and vendor landscape are already underway. For the full survey findings, including the specific steps hospitals are taking now to prepare for this new era of healthcare, Alexander Group is offering 1-on-1 briefings for interested journalists, vendors, business partners and commercial leaders. Please visit the Alexander Group website for more information.

About Alexander Group

Alexander Group provides revenue growth consulting services to the world’s leading sales, marketing and service organizations. Founded in 1985, Alexander Group combines deep experience, proven methodologies and data-driven insights to help revenue leaders anticipate change, align their go-to-customer resources with company goals and make better informed decisions with one goal in mind—to grow revenue. Alexander Group has offices in Atlanta, Chicago, London, New York, San Francisco, São Paulo, Scottsdale and Vero Beach.

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