The COVID-19 pandemic has confined people to their homes, restricting travel, and non-essential outdoor activities for months. Recent surveys show that the demand for home diagnostic services is increasing as people across the United States shelter in place due to the pandemic. People who wouldn’t have dreamed of tackling a home appliance repair are now fixing their freezers, refrigerators, washers, and dryers.
People are now also hesitant to visit hospitals, clinics, and pathology labs for diagnostics tests due to the fear of the pandemic spreading in such places. As a result, the demand for home-based diagnostics, medical check-ups, and lab tests has increased substantially since the outbreak.
Quest Diagnostics, one of America’s leading providers of diagnostic information services, is now offering antibody testing for COVID-19 using blood samples. The Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorization for the coronavirus test from Quest Diagnostics that allows people to collect their samples from home. Home diagnostic services are convenient for customers as they can maintain social distancing and get their important medical checks done from the comfort of their homes.
Home Diagnostics Market Trends During Pandemic
La Jolla Vein Care, a San Diego healthcare provider, has recently launched an at-home ultrasound imaging service to treat patients who have been sitting at home for extended periods during the pandemic and may have developed corresponding health issues.
“As more people are being forced to stay at home, there is a need for more home diagnostic services. The need has always been there, as there are many vulnerable patients that were there well before the coronavirus outbreak, but the numbers were smaller. With the pandemic, I think that more people will see the benefits of home diagnostics so there will be more demand,” says Dr. Aragona from Prescription Doctor, a discreet online medicine delivery platform.
As things crawl back to normalcy after months of disruption due to COVID-19, a recent Locus on the Ground report shows that the health diagnostics sector has seen a massive 139.8% jump as compared to April. People are now increasingly turning to at-home diagnostics services to get their regular tests done.
Most consumers now prefer to book their medical appointments via mobile applications and book a time that suits them the best. 46% of US consumers prefer to schedule appointments via email, an online platform, or a mobile app, while only 38% of home service SMEs are offering digital self-scheduling. Consumers also expect to be duly updated on their service requests. This includes everything from periodic updates over SMS/email/App Notifications to Live Tracking & ETA updates.
These rising trends are indicators that healthcare enterprises will need to offer digital home services and time-slot bookings in the coming days. This is also a good chance for third-party logistics providers to partner with healthcare companies and offer home-diagnostics as a managed service. As the demand for home diagnostics services increases, it’s time now for businesses to prepare well for the future of the health diagnostics industry and redefine their supply chain strategies.
Customers are looking for a reliable home diagnostics service that can offer a clean and safe customer experience with the convenience of scheduling appointments in a click, and the ability to book a comfortable time-slot. Artificial Intelligence is playing a major role in differentiating the best home services from ordinary ones.
Home Diagnostics Services Customer Experience
How can Logistics Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers help in improving customer experience for home diagnostics services?
- Smart scheduling of orders
With the help of online appointment scheduling software, home service providers can allow clients to book appointments at their convenience. As smartphones replace desktops for millions, mobile-friendly interfaces are a huge trend for online scheduling software. Many appointment booking applications also offer online, contactless payment options. Clients can pay for appointments ahead of time, or after the service, by using their phones.
- Efficient route planning
AI makes it easier for logistics personnel to manage home diagnostics service tasks on a day-to-day basis by planning task routes and assigning riders within minutes. This helps in saving the time-taken in manual route planning and minimizes fuel costs as the number of miles driven is remarkably reduced.
- Time-slot management
With advancements in logistics technology, now companies can implement time slot-based home services, allowing consumers to choose a time-slot for their home diagnostics, sample collections, or medical check-ups according to their convenience and availability. Managing tasks according to customer-preferred time slots helps logistics managers to assign tasks to on-ground staff efficiently.
- Live tracking and status updates
New-age home service applications also offer customers end-to-end visibility of their online appointments via live tracking and timely status updates. Customers can monitor the ETA of their tasks, and communicate effectively with on-ground executives. Live tracking also helps logistics managers stay on top of ongoing tasks, and take quick measures in case of any deviation from the planned schedule.
COVID-19 has not only pushed businesses to expand their offerings to consumers with greater convenience, but also reinforced the fact that excellent customer service is a key differentiator for home-service players. Healthcare providers who are offering at-home diagnostics services, or looking to enter this growing market have a great chance to stand out from competitors with the use of AI-based SaaS solutions.