On this episode of Healthcare Analytics Decoded, a Quantros podcast, Quantros’ Lindsey Klein was joined by SVP and Chief System of Care Integration Officer for Navicent Health Dr. Reg Gilbreath.

Dr. Gilbreath and Klein engaged in a wide-ranging discussion on the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the healthcare system, our collective march toward a new normal, and more.

Gilbreath said he’s been impressed with how the healthcare industry has been able to adapt to managing COVID-19 and the pandemic as quickly as it has.

“For the most part, the healthcare industry in America has risen to the challenge, I think,” he said.

From a data perspective, Gilbreath said it’s difficult to tell how long it may take reporting and analysis to return to a pre-pandemic normal, if it ever does.

“It kind of depends on the current pandemic. Is it a three-month window we’re looking at? Is it business as usual in the summer? … Or is it 24 months just to handle this current pandemic?,” he said.

Gilbreath said there’s even a potential for COVID-19 to reappear annually, similar to the seasonal flu. In short, there’s currently too much we don’t know.

Though projections for the true onset of a “new normal” vary, Gilbreath said there has to be some movement toward normalcy in healthcare sooner rather than later.

“At some point, we’ve got to incorporate normalcy, if you will,” he said. “There are a lot of people with a backlog of elective surgeries.”

In particular, Gilbreath said “survival-based” procedures, like those concerning cancer, will be prioritized, but symptom-based issues causing severe disruptions also need to begin resuming when possible.

Klein and Gilbreath also dove into which innovations could be holdovers from the pandemic era, such as telemedicine and online scheduling, how funding could increase for underserved demographics as a result of COVID-19 risk, and more.

For more information on the current and future impact of COVID-19, visit Quantros.com