The coronavirus pandemic continues to wage war across the country and most corners of the world. While there are positive signs to cling to, it doesn’t seem as though life will return to something resembling normal for a few months. When you look around you at your friends and family, you see just how different the world is now – compared to a year ago. Still, it’s not just daily life that’s changed; there have been some significant changes in the healthcare industry, which have been sparked by this global pandemic.
Thankfully, these changes have been positive. However, the frustrating thing is that a lot of the changes were reactions to the pandemic. It took something really bad to kick in and force the kinds of changes that we should’ve seen years ago. Who knows, perhaps if the healthcare industry had seen these changes before the pandemic kicked in, it wouldn’t have had such a devastating effect across the US.
More emphasis on disease prevention
Speak to any healthcare expert and they will tell you that the best way to fight a disease is by preventing it. For the most part, this typically involves simple acts – like improving your personal hygiene and being wary when there’s something going around. Coronavirus brought out a change in tactic from the healthcare industry, focusing on things like social distancing, wearing masks, washing your hands, and not going out if you have symptoms. It was all geared towards the idea of preventing the virus from spreading to more people.
Before this, can any of you remember any marketing material or signs from the government encouraging you to prevent the spread of things like the cold and flu? Nowadays, you can’t go anywhere without seeing hand sanitizer strategically placed at entrances/exits, hand washing instructions in toilets, and prompts to put a mask on in busy places. Had these things existed already, we may have been in a position to contain the spread before it even happened. Healthcare experts are certainly hoping that this line of attack remains post-COVID, reducing the number of people suffering from seasonal colds and the flu.
The need for increased palliative care
Palliative care is a service that kicks in when someone has a serious disease that can’t be cured. It’s focused on making the person as comfortable as possible, giving their family time to get to terms with what will happen next. The coronavirus pandemic has definitely triggered the need for increased palliative care services across the country. You have places like Three Oaks Hospice & Palliative Care that deal with numerous patients every single day, many of which are fighting terrible diseases. When coronavirus is thrown into the mix, it tipped a lot of palliative care providers over the edge. They struggled to deal with existing patients, let alone any extra ones coming in that were sick with coronavirus.
It shone a huge light on the fact that there needs to be more investment on this side of things. Not only that but the sad realization that many people lost their lives quickly due to COVID-19 highlighted the importance of palliative care. For many people and families, being able to have extra time with a loved one before they go is the most important thing ever. With more investment in this service, it should ensure that fewer families are left without the chance to say goodbye.
Telemedicine takes over
It seems bizarre that the healthcare world was so underdeveloped in terms of technological solutions for the general public. Obviously, there’s an outrageous amount of technology in this sector, but not a lot of it is used by the people. It mainly relates to machinery and processes that healthcare providers use. The pandemic began to change this, introducing telemedicine to the mainstream market.
Granted, this has existed for years, but hardly anyone used it. Now, people were forced to make doctor’s appointments online, have video calls with doctors, send in photos, and so on. It led to doctor’s visits dropping, yet people still got the help they required. In the future, it looks as though this concept will be a massive thing. The public has realized that they don’t actually need to visit a doctor for most ailments. Doctors have seen that they can still provide a great service via telemedicine, while also reducing the number of potentially sick patients coming in and out of their office. In technology terms, telemedicine is still fairly new, so it’s interesting to see how it will continue to develop.
COVID-19 has changed a lot about our world, and it continues to spark changes throughout different industries. Healthcare will naturally be one of the most highly-affected sectors, with these three changes already taking effect.