It has been almost six months to the day since the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a worldwide pandemic. It is safe to say that we were all a little naive back in March, thinking that surely we would resume some sense of normalcy by summertime. Which is understandable as treading in uncharted medical and social waters will surely tap into one’s sense of optimism.
Now that we are half a year into social distancing, masks and an unimaginable death toll, what have we learned?
Former UN secretary Kofi Anan once referred to diseases as “problems without a passport.” Nothing exemplifies that statement more than the coordinated global effort to manufacture, test and release a Covid-19 vaccine. This pandemic has taught us that there are best practices, missteps, equipment and thought processes that, when shared, can benefit the greater good. Sharing of data is at the core of our daily mission here at Get Real Health, so we are thrilled that this basic tenet will be the force behind stopping the spread of Covid-19.
Through schools, doctor offices, weddings and office work we have certainly learned that technology has become part of our lifeblood. A recent Forbes article stated that the US has seen an estimated 70% increase in internet use during the pandemic. Phones and computers have been the life-line to the outside world facilitating everything from work to social opportunities and shopping. The importance of improving the functionality and availability of technology has come to the forefront for all developers and providers, including our company.
Speaking of technology, the value of telehealth has surely been highlighted as a result of Covid-19. The gains in this area have been two-fold. Patients who were once hesitant to embrace the idea of remote patient care and video conferencing with caregivers have now seen its advantages. Additionally, providers have benefited from a shift in policy that makes telehealth a viable offering for practices. There is much hope that these changes will become a permanent component of the future of healthcare.
Creativity has abounded during this crisis as well. Professions from education to health and fitness have pivoted and found new ways to engage their demographic. From outdoor Zumba classes to back-to-school rap and FitBit challenges, Americans have gone outside the box to find ways to accomplish ordinary tasks. As vanguards in Health IT, Get Real Health applauds this ingenuity which gives us great hope for future generations.
However, we have learned that technology is no substitute for human interaction. Many have been isolated during this pandemic forcing America to face its mounting mental health crisis. According to ABC News, between the months of March and April alone, depression rates tripled in the US. In addition to isolation, individuals suffered anxiety over the virus, jobs, money and compromised family members according to the report. Technology is at the odd intersection of being a contributor as in the case of social media and teens but also a cure through mood tracking and clinical apps.
Which brings us to our last observation. The old adage, “everything in moderation..” has most likely been the big takeaway from Covid-19. This concept is the backbone of maintaining good health through balance and it holds true in life as well. It is important to remember small business needs support as much as big business does. That unscheduled time is not a negative and should be a goal every week. That the little things we do like wearing a mask and social distancing go a long way. And that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
We remain hopeful that the lessons we have learned will serve as a preventative measure when faced with a crisis again and also be seen as a blueprint for resiliency for generations to come.