For nearly every global citizen, the COVID-19 pandemic forever altered life as we know it. Yet despite all its downfalls, the pandemic has also served as an unlikely catalyst towards a brighter future. As we work towards building our so-called “new normal,” in fact, opportunities to improve modern life can be found in abundance.
In the wake of COVID-19, policymakers around the world were suddenly forced to contend with the harsh realities associated with our current societal systems, en masse. It’s abundantly clear that myriad social issues need to be addressed, to improve overall global health and quality of life. From thinkable to the unthinkable, some of our current societal systems that could use an overhaul include healthcare, income disparity, inclusion, and more.
While sweeping policy changes typically occur at the governmental level, average citizens from all walks of life are crucial to the conversation. Indeed, it is the ideas and experiences of everyday people that truly fuel lasting change, and that are a necessary aspect of the equation as we work to build a new world, post-COVID.
The Changing Face of the Healthcare Industry
Of course, healthcare is of vital significance in terms of the future of humanity. And unfortunately, countless individuals around the world have been left behind in terms of health coverage. Within the United States, the problem is especially striking: Public health coverage, including Medicaid and Medicare, has long been stigmatized, even as more than 34% of the national population relies on it in some form.
The stigma surrounding public health insurance primarily owes its existence to tired, outdated views surrounding poverty and underprivileged populations. According to research, it is the world’s poorest people who are most vulnerable to COVID. Further, the World Bank reports that COVID is expected to exacerbate the rate of extreme global poverty, especially in areas where income disparity is already extreme. In regards to healthcare, it is these underserved populations that have the greatest need for widespread change in the name of public health, and technology such as telemedicine may be part of the solution.
Once a fringe concept, telemedicine was given a chance to shine as cities, counties, and entire nations required social distancing and/or full lockdowns to quell the spread of COVID. More than a year after COVID first made headlines, remote healthcare has become commonplace, helping to reduce expenditures and even improve patient outcomes.
One of the most notable benefits of telemedicine is that it’s viable as a diagnostic and treatment platform in nearly every medical discipline. For example, vision care has become more streamlined thanks to telemedicine. Using any standards-based web browser, such as Google or Firefox, eye exams can be taken online that are just as accurate as a traditional, in-office exam. Further, patient monitoring can be easily set up and executed by healthcare providers ranging from optometrists to primary care providers and beyond.
Regarding Technology, Education, and Employment
Yet telemedicine is just the beginning as far as the applications of technology in our post-COVID world are concerned. Various aspects of daily life can now be conducted exclusively via remote channels. Today’s global citizens can work, shop for groceries, schedule doctor visits, and connect with friends all from the comfort of home.
This expansive connectivity has opened up numerous opportunities for job seekers, students, and corporations alike.
No longer do your educational or employment prospects hinge on your place of residence: Widespread digitization has effectively opened up the entire world, allowing companies and educational institutions to recruit from a global talent pool rather than a localized one. A similar shift is occurring in the realm of education and how we learn and gather information will continue to change into the future. The skills that we gained during lockdown, like greater autonomy and the ability to effectively communicate via online channels, may better prepare us for a future where anything is possible.
Being Prepared for Anything Post-COVID
Along with helping to bring healthcare and employment issues to light, the pandemic has also revealed how countless individuals are financially unprepared for an emergency, whether related to individual health or another issue altogether. In the event of an incapacitating incident, it’s crucial that your family’s assets are protected, and that your healthcare needs and wishes are properly addressed. Even healthy, vaccinated individuals should consider the benefits of creating a living will, and/or appointing a loved one to serve as a legal decision-maker who has your best interests and beliefs in mind.
By thinking through the thinkable, and mindfully working to improve the quality of life for every citizen on Earth, opportunities will continue to open up. Post-COVID, preparation and communication are key components towards improved public health, in the face of an uncertain future. Technology and the ability to conduct most aspects of business and daily life via remote channels will continue to keep relevant issues in the spotlight and help spark conversation and continued changes for the better.
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