The future of health in Brazil post Covid-19

The world is going through an unprecedented crisis. As of the day I am writing this article, international bodies have registered 4.8 million people infected and more than 319 thousand dead. A 6.6% mortality rate, very close to what we see in Brazil: 6.7% on the eighty-second day of contamination.

Brazil had to run out of time and prepare to face this invisible enemy that directly affects people and consequently our economy, since one of the fundamental measures for its containment is social isolation, and in a country that was still recovering from a crisis this scam is one of those extremely hard to bear. The crisis we face today is worse than 2008, where we saw a growth of around 5% of GDP, since for this year the forecast is just the opposite: a 5% retraction.

Thus, the question that remains today is: what will be the future of Brazil post COVID-19? To try to answer, I have separated 5 themes that “São Cristóvão Saúde” has been working on and that now, more than ever, will need to reinvent itself to keep moving: 1) people: management, training and leadership role; 2) market relations: doctors, users, companies and operators; 3) information management and intelligence centers; 4) supply chain and 5) Financial capacity.

In a future that will certainly undergo disruption, managing and empowering people will play an even more challenging role. The distance that is now a reality may remain partially, since several companies are adopting home office as a standard in an attempt to reduce costs and increase the quality of life of their employees. This will require even more present leaders, which may not be easy in this context. People training tends to be an even more connected, agile, and focused process. Despite this new generation being more and more immediate and looking for their own knowledge, in the health world, specific training is extremely necessary in subjects that are of fundamental importance in “serving” the client and in guaranteeing the best assistance, especially for great possibility of new waves of contamination and different presentations of this and other viruses.

In this context, the customer experience will also undergo significant changes, as soon it is likely that people will change their health-seeking habits. In Germany, for example, hospitals still feel low demand, even with the high control of new cases and the reduction of the contamination curve. Therefore, it will be necessary to adapt the relationship between market players to guarantee the sustainability of the chain. The intensive use of technologies is also important in this process.

Regulatory changes are also a matter of concern for managers worldwide. A survey carried out by the global consultancy Protivit, with 1,063 executives, points out that the issue is even higher than the concern with the economic conditions for the growth of companies, as it may affect the creation and delivery of services to customers. Here in Brazil, we monitor the consolidation of services now questioned, such as telemedicine and the increase of online sales channels, the extension of deadlines by ANS and the movement to increase liquidity of companies, the extension of readjustments in the pharmaceutical sectors. Together, these factors can influence to bring the company closer to the customer, deliver value in the services provided, create new players and support the disruption of business models.

It will be essential for this process that health entities increasingly know their users. Part of this is the correct and secure information management, added to the strengthening of intelligence centers. In a time of strong LGPD discussions, knowing what information to have, how, with what levels of security and most importantly: knowing how to use the data transforming it into assertive information that supports fast and accurate decision making is crucial. Companies that have technologies and processes that allow this will be the ones that have the greatest chance of adaptation and growth return.

Another prominent theme in the future is the supply chain and supply management. Today hospitals have been “forced” to change the just in time model for just in case, but in the future the whole process will have to be transformed, especially when we remember that Inventory Management is directly related to the financial results of a business. This involves more efficient logistics, reviewing the margins of manufacturers and distributors and reviewing the storage model.

All these themes culminate in financial capacity. The point is that, in Brazil, as already mentioned in this article, the near future does not prove to be promising. According to SEBRAE, SMEs and MEIs (micro companies) will be strongly impacted, reflecting on our entire economy. SMEs represent 52% of formal jobs in the private sector; 40.7% of the MEIs, which are also highly representative, had their economic activities interrupted. This added to the fact that 68% of them have no cash forecast for the following month already demonstrates the scenario in the country. The unemployed population is estimated to rise from 11.9 million to 25 million, according to the International Labour Organization. Mature companies should establish crisis management committees, review their costs, and review the source of their revenue. Perhaps the key question is how to guarantee alternative sources of revenue or work with current sources in order to reinvent and sustain the business.

Brazil’s future has several uncertainties and only one certainty: people will still be the center of everything. The form of relationship with the strongly connected customer may be the difference between stabilizing and sustaining the business or closing its operation. We must be prepared for the new normal, contemplating a new level of business flexibility.

Dr Valdir Ventura 

President of São Cristovão Saúde Group

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