New Delhi:

The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to a change in consumer preferences and priorities as the focus now shifts towards the use of technology and contact-less healthcare, a report by consultancy services firm Deloitte India said.

Home healthcare has taken prominence as consumer receptiveness towards out-of-hospital, at-home services across the care continuum – consultation, diagnostics, and in-patient care – has shot up, it added.

The report, ''Changing consumer preferences towards healthcare services: The impact of COVID-19'', said social distancing and a fear-led mindset have resulted in consumers preferring online consultations over in-person interactions. 

"Consumers are increasingly preferring to have their healthcare needs met remotely or from the comfort and safety of their homes. They expect their healthcare service providers to prioritise adherence to safety protocols," the report noted.

The demand for telemedicine services is expected to continue, driven by an increase in consumer preference for an efficient consultation setting that eliminates commute and waiting time, it added.    

Deloitte India Partner Anupama Joshi said the report lists the opportunities and challenges for the healthcare sector in managing the shift in consumer preferences.

"We believe this will help organisations in the healthcare ecosystem to create better business strategies, collaborate with startups, and continue to thrive post COVID-19 by exploring new settings and delivery channels across the continuum of care," she added. 

Going forward, health management will become a lot more integrated, with players offering different services coming together and offering the consumers the care they need, the report said. 

Organisations that accept these changes and think of them as opportunities to evolve will benefit, while those that resist the change and simply wait for the pre-COVID world to return will find the going increasingly tough over time, it added.