Invigoration of Innovation in times of tragedy – Telehealth Expansion in and beyond Covid-19

Necessity is the mother of invention – an English-language proverb

As a millennial I have witnessed three life changing events through my lifetime already. 9-/11, Financial crisis of 2018 and a Covid19 pandemic that has halted global economic activity. What I have realised is the amazing resilience and grit of the human race. We will survive this and we will innovate through this; unfortunately at the cost of lives and economic downturn.

Covid19 will reshape our world. We don’t yet know when the crisis will end. But we can be sure that by the time it does, our world will look very different. – Josep Borrell

There is no doubt that the world will look very different from the pre-pandemic era. As millennials we are proud in our ideals that are different from baby boomers. We have consistently shown an idealistic distance from Baby-Boomers & Gen X. We rent houses as compared to buying. We valued experience as compared to acquisitions. We are globalists as compared to nationalists. We are inquisitive as compared to indifferent.

In the post-pandemic world, the U.S. economy could be totally different – Don Lee

Unfortunately we have witnessed a second once in a life turn economic downturn. We have entered our working lives in an economy that is poised by uncertainty and a world that is less secure and a workplace that is remote. Having said that; it also reminds me of Winston Churchill, “never waste a good crisis.”

As said by Winston Churchill, never waste a good crisis

As a physician it was a shock coming from Pakistan and experiencing a change in practice of medicine to what some call “bunker medicine”. Majority of your time was spent in front of a computer screen analyzing data, radiological images and charting. The overall time spent providing care to the patient face-to-face was already in decline. My humanity in medicine was challenged deeply. As an initial skeptic of Telehealth I initially thought it would make medicine more impersonal. I was wrong “I have come to realize that telemedicine is more personalized than in-person care” especially in times of bunker medicine. We are entering a new remote era! Telehealth gives me the option to be more personal while distant.

Telehealth gives me the option to be more personal while distant

As a Neurologist already suffering from severe worsening shortages and increasingly worsening work-life balance leading to burnout. Telehealth is the key to provide specialist care to our patient if not bedside; then web-side.

Covid-19 presents an opportunity to innovate in times of crisis. To realize the true potential of virtual care; a truer version of healthcare and not just sick-care. We will innovate through this and use any and all resources. The expansive use of Telehealth during the Covid19 crisis is the testament to human race and its invigor for innovation.

Thanks for your time! J.

Junaid Kalia MD – Telehealth,Telemedicine mHealth Strategist, Consulting & Implementation Specialist – Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare advocate & Speaker.

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