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Back in February when we first started learning about the devastation of COVID-19, many were thinking, “how long before we get back to normal?”  Two months or more into this and, as we slowly start to gingerly take baby steps to returning, it seems this will be our new normal after all.

Metropolitan areas polluted with smog started to clear, the animals in forests ventured freely, families separated by quarantine relied on technology for cherished time spent with virtual visits, a tank of gas lasted 3 weeks! As industry starts back up, we are sure to see return of smoggy skies, animals will once again retreat, and most of us will start to prod the economy and spend more money at the gas pump.

Some changes implemented in healthcare may be here to stay.  With regulatory changes, we have seen expansion of telehealth options.  This opens available medicine and treatment options to many more patients, patients who are limited by their ability to travel to receive beneficial care.  Ability to monitor patients remotely can reduce the readmission rates.  Telehealth is an opportunity to improve delivery of healthcare and monitoring to so many individuals which benefits patients, providers, and payers. As commercial payers continue to acknowledge the value of telehealth, we will continue to see reimbursement opportunities rise for services delivered via real-time video telehealth.  Telehealth is likely a new normal.

Available personal protective equipment for medical persons hit the news hard.  Stories of healthcare providers using household items for barrier protection or reuse of medical supplies was commonly heard. Governors pleaded for states to send emergency supplies to the front lines.  Our nation’s supply chain was broken.  With so many of those products outsourced will we see production of basic PPE ramp up; will increase in this industry be part of our new normal too?

Social isolation has taken its toll on everyone, especially the elderly residents who live in long-term care communities.  They are the most vulnerable and we have heard tragic stories about rapid spread and death within skilled facilities across the country.  Basic processes dramatically changed within these communities.  Stricter health protocols are being required in almost every industry as we begin to reopen. Healthcare shut the doors to routine visitors, opportunities emerged for technology to take the place.  Open doors are replaced with strict medical screening for all who enter and everyone wearing facemasks.  It is unknown how long this will continue.  If fact, this may become business as usual, our new normal too.

One thing seems to be apparent in the new normal, we will need to build a future that includes a pandemic ready society.  As we move forward, every decision and action may be prefaced with consideration of survivability in a pandemic. Change, resilience, technology, I see all of this in my new normal.[/et_pb_text][/et_pb_column][/et_pb_row][/et_pb_section]