The healthcare industry is stepping up admirably to overcome a dangerous and quick-spreading epidemic. However, the power of changes created by COVID may lie in how we recover as a society. A focus on wellness and maintenance is emerging, as is a drive for more telehealth options.
Hospital Bed Availability
As late as 2019, hospital administrators and government leaders were pushing for fewer hospital beds, particularly in community and rural hospitals. A hospital that was, at most, only at 2/3 capacity was not a sustainable business model.
Of course, as community and rural hospitals were overloaded with COVID patients, the push to lower the availability of beds has waned. While the future is uncertain, it is a good bet that the voices calling for fewer beds will have a hard time finding an audience.
New Levels of Urgency
The availability of Urgent Care clinics for those events that are concerning but not dangerous has reduced the burden on emergency rooms for several years. The rise in availability of Georgia virtual urgent care has added another level in the “urgent but not fatal” realm of medical care.
For example, a child who falls off a swing may have a bad arm bump but not a break. At Urgent Care, the bump could be iced and scrapes cleaned up. However, if the Urgent Care is full of folks who may or may not have COVID, the child could be much safer getting a telehealth check and a cleanup from the first aid kit at home.
The Push for Monitoring Tools
Monitoring tools from chronic conditions such as diabetes have been in use for years, but new tools that live on an insulin pump that resides inside the body are truly game-changing. This form of technology regularly checks the blood sugar level and issues small doses as necessary. Via a smartphone app, the patient can check their sugar before a meal, make any necessary adjustments, and enjoy their food without needing medication or an injection.
These monitoring tools can be useful for many conditions. While a pacemaker has long been a useful tool for correcting an irregular heartbeat, adding a sensor that can notify your cardiologist of any worries, changes or concerns can be the difference between a necessary upgrade to the software and a serious health challenge.
The Focus on Maintenance
A fitness monitor is a great way to track your steps. If you can find a tool that will also allow you to track your water and food intake, you and your physician can get a good look at your overall health and any adjustments you need to make. Such tools could also be extremely useful if you’re recovering from a corrective surgery or need to rest up from a known injury.
These maintenance tools can also be used for tracking mental health. If you suffer from stress and anxiety, you are at risk of depression, poor sleep, and heart concerns. A wellness tool that reminds you to meditate or to take a sleeping aid on the bad days could help you on your path to wellness. COVID has been a time of hard lessons and high stress for many citizens; getting a handle on stress will likely turn into a national obsession.
COVID has made it very hard for the healthy to get in to see the doctor safely, and medical technology has changed the healthcare delivery method. COVID has also made us much more aware of the science of viral illness and the necessity of inoculations and vaccines. Finally, COVID has taught us that being ready to mask up quickly or to work from home when necessary can literally be the difference between life and death.