Thanks to the COVID-19 virus and its unbelievable rapid spread throughout our world, so many things have shifted from where we were a year ago. The winds of change have swept into our world without regard to our ability to control our culture, desires, or expectations. Would any of us in September 2019 think twelve months later we would have had to make the decisions and change our processes so significantly in so many aspects of our lives, including how we are delivering healthcare?
Twenty-five years ago, the idea of technology in healthcare was limited to labs, some ancillary services, and new drugs. Expecting to have medical records, pharmaceutical interactions, or even home-based laboratory testing was something you saw in science fiction movies. Today there are apps on cell phones that provide immediate responses that once took days to come back from a laboratory process. Ten years ago, many clinicians were just beginning to incorporate the availability of immediate patient information into their practice patterns. Now it is a daily norm with high availability an expectant performance level.
Healthcare providers have had to quickly react to a number of situations that were unique but now all too common. Consider some of these challenges we have had to address and what if we did not have the technology to meet those challenges: The office visit went from loaded up waiting rooms where you could not be certain who had what when you sat down to being in your home waiting on the doctor to join. When hospitals had to limit families from visiting patients in person, imagine being told your grand baby is born just 10 blocks away, and you cannot hold them or see your child in person who just became a first-time parent.