The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has been a serious pandemic that’s swept the world since December 2019. Because of that, we’ve needed to make changes and adjustments to the way we operate as a society. This doesn’t just mean the quarantines that have been put in effect; the way we operate our healthcare system won’t return to the way it used to be pre-pandemic. Not only will hospitals and physicians need to prepare for factors such as financial trouble and the rise of telehealth, but they’ll also need to be ready to handle a second COVID-19 wave alongside other health issues that patients may have put off at the beginning of the year.

 

Ultimately, the COVID-19 pandemic will have a long-lasting effect on the way we go about treating our health. Here are only a few of the ways.

 

Elective Surgeries

 

Since people with more severe cases of COVID-19 are (or were) in the hospital, there will need to be a new system to approach and engage with patients who have put off elective surgeries as a result of the pandemic. It’s important to make patients feel that they’re safe when in the facility, so simply saying “we’re open” won’t necessarily reassure people who believe they can hold off on their elective surgeries. Some health systems have made themselves completely transparent about what they’re doing to make their facility safe for their patients, while others recognize that people may not want to have their surgery done in a hospital itself and arrange for the surgeries to take place in ambulatory surgery centers.

 

Digital Health Options

 

With quarantines and stay-at-home orders about, digital healthcare has never been more prominent. Telehealth has needed to churn out technology quickly to monitor and take care of patients at home and, as a result, a decade’s worth of work has been accomplished in the span of a few months. This pandemic has shown that digital healthcare is no longer a nice option that people can use—it’s a necessity that is continuously being innovated for better at-home healthcare. Facilities that invested in telehealth before the coronavirus are better positioned to move forward than those who did not.

 

Drones and Robots

 

Social distancing has changed the way society works overall. Naturally, there will be an improvement in how drones and robots are used in the consumer world to reduce face-to-face interactions. As robots make their way into the consumer market to clean facilities and the like, they will inevitably make their way into healthcare just as other widely-adopted technologies have in the past.

 

The future truly is now.