How COVID-19 has shaped the new normal in healthcareJan 19, 2022
2021 was the somewhat predictable sequel to the terrible movie that was 2020, with the pandemic continuing to disrupt industries - healthcare in particular. Thankfully, we learned a thing or two about working alongside COVID-19, and every area of the industry was pushed to adapt to the new normal.
Looking at healthcare through this new lens, we can see plenty of silver linings - many of these developments look like they’re here to stay and will change the industry for the better.
Virtual Health is here to stay
Virtual Healthcare, or Telehealth, has been a vital tool in the healthcare world since the pandemic began. While this solution has been bubbling away in the background for years as a viable option, it wasn’t until COVID-19 pushed it to the forefront that we saw its full potential.
Not only does this make for a better patient experience, but it also helps practitioners to capture all protected health information (PHI) in a way that’s far more efficient than the usual paper trail. Remote patient monitoring (RPM) is also becoming more mainstream, allowing healthcare providers to keep tabs on their patients in real-time, without the patient needing to leave the comfort of their home.
Bedside collaboration and virtual rounding have also enabled groups of care providers to check in from anywhere, as long as they’ve got a steady wifi connection. Dr Brett Meyer, medical director of enterprise telemedicine at UC San Diego Health, took things up a notch by deploying a remote rounding tool using iPads, Zoom, and Jamf to quickly connect to any room with a click of a button.
A spotlight on Healthcare Heroes
Around the world, people stood outside their homes to applaud healthcare workers in unison as they continued to work tirelessly throughout the pandemic. This showed a united front, and many big brands such as Google, Adidas, Uber and many others produced campaigns to show support in spreading the message of gratitude to healthcare professionals.
COVID-19 has contributed to a massive shift in the perception of nurses. For many years the media has tainted the image of nurses as nothing more than subordinates to doctors with many negative stereotypes that take away from the gravity of the profession. Globally, people are starting to recognise that nurses play a vital role in medical facilities as the pandemic continues to put a spotlight on their abilities as highly skilled professionals.
Aside from nurses and healthcare providers finally getting the recognition they deserve, their mental health and well-being are also being spotlighted. Considering the pressure that care providers are under in general (let alone in the wake of a global pandemic), it’s not surprising that they’re burnt out and overstretched. Telehealth and other innovations will ease the load while still maintaining a high level of patient care.
Communication is key
Pagers? Fax Machines? These disruptive dinosaurs are being retired (or even banned) in exchange for less expensive and more streamlined innovations designed specifically for healthcare.
More recently, WhatsApp has been widely adopted as a communication tool in healthcare, but the consumer platform isn’t HIPAA or GDPR compliant, and users aren’t verified. This makes it a big no-no when sending PHI, and goes directly outside of the mandatory guidelines.
In a healthcare setting, sensitive information or images need to be completely secure and 100% compliant. With new variants of the virus continually popping up, it’s hard to know when the pandemic will start to subside - but thankfully, we can take all of our learnings from 2021 to continue transforming and innovating the healthcare industry going forward.
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