Do you remember your first cell phone? I looked at the device with a fair amount of awe and considered it to be borderline magic that I could call someone without being anchored to the wall by a 15-footlong curly cord. I’m sure you had a similar experience, and you can also recall several phones you’ve had through the years. At the time, they all seemed like such technological miracles, but they are antiquated compared to what you carry in your pocket today.
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Apart from “pandemic,” the word “telehealth” is likely to be one of the biggest buzzwords of 2020, and for good reason. Telehealth has been thrust into the spotlight as a result of the pandemic in an effort by the healthcare industry to serve patients wherever they are, provide treatment, and reduce the chance of spreading the massively infectious COVID-19 virus. I personally had my very first virtual visit two weeks ago, and it was fantastic! Never again will I suffer the waiting room as a first step to my own personal care. Telehealth visits are likely to be a novel experience for many, but it will soon transition to be the operative norm going forward as we all approach a post-coronavirus “new normal.”
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The Coronavirus pandemic exposed a great number of vulnerabilities in the US Healthcare system, from supply chain issues to bed surge readiness to local, state, and federal coordination. As hospitals reeled with the sudden and unprecedented demands placed on their systems, they were forced to respond in a largely reactionary way. They did what they had to in the moment to take care of the largest volume of patients they could effectively carry while simultaneously protecting their healthcare workers from a virus with no sound treatment protocol.