Life will never be the same again

In the place where I live, the local government has just lifted almost all the restrictions that had been enforced during the COVID era.

Walking into an elevator, the office, the grocery store, I feel, for the first second or two, that I’m missing something… then realize that masks are no longer required in these spaces. This wearable item had become part of our daily lives in the past two years, and it is hard to give it up — almost like giving up a habit.

Is life in these post-pandemic days back to normal? I would say definitely not!

On the one hand, COVID caused a lot of damage. Millions of lives were lost around the world. It had a huge impact on nations’ economies, causing a supply chain crisis and scarcities wherever you went. But, on the other hand, it changed our future — as if someone pressed the Fast Forward button on every aspect of our lives.

If I had to choose one word, and one word only to describe these years, this decade, it would be REMOTE.

Remote technologies scaled so dramatically that they reached people that might never have been exposed to them or utilized them without the pandemic.

A couple of weeks ago it struck me when my mother-in-law asked for my assistance to complete an online order for a coffee table for her balcony. She is in her late 70s and this was the first time she ordered something over the Internet. It was there and then that I realized that things would never be the same again.

How many people used video calls before 2020? Now, show me a single person that you know today who didn’t use Zoom in the past two years! Zoom has become a generic word for all video call platforms.

People change their perspective on work. All of a sudden, working remotely or in a “hybrid” mode has started to make sense. In the old days, you drove or flew for a business meeting. These trips are now reduced and can be substituted by Zoom meetings.

Are you hungry? Food is only a click away. Nowadays, you can buy almost everything online — groceries, products, lifestyle, fashion, gigs, consultations, you name it.

We have also witnessed a huge shift in public health-related issues.

Before the pandemic, you had to be present at a medical facility to get diagnosed, get medical treatment, or receive a medical-related service. Today, you can order a remote blood test kit, have your own blood sample collected from your home, and have it sent out to a local lab for diagnostics. This is on top of dozens of other tests you can perform at home.

With the latest development in Telehealth technologies, you can get your vital signs monitored, using a cloud-based application. You can have a virtual doctor consultation without leaving your bedroom. More and more we have started to hear terms like AI and Metaverse, terms that, up until today, were considered science fiction.

When the pandemic began to seriously affect our lives, senior citizens that needed a non-COVID-related treatment were reluctant to go to hospitals that were full of COVID patients. This is when Home Health Care programs flourished.

In November 2020, CMS came up with The Acute Hospital Care at Home initiative. They waived the requirement for nursing services to be provided on-premises 24/7, and for the immediate availability of a registered nurse for the care of any patient.

Though Hospital-at-Home programs became the standard of care in many countries like the UK, Australia, Canada, Israel, and France, it was the first time that Medicare and Medicaid encouraged health systems to open this type of program in the US.

A recent survey among patients who received Hospital-at-Home care in the US showed a high satisfaction level (88%). These senior patients still remember the days of their childhood when the local doctor with his small leather Gladstone bag showed up for house calls.

There is no doubt that we are on the verge of a new revolution — the Remote revolution. New technologies and advanced healthcare programs existed long before COVID started. Now, is the best time to leverage the momentum created by the vast adoption of those changes that would have taken years to occur without the pandemic.

Can you imagine life 10 years from today?

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