COVID-19 will forever change health care

To respond to COVID-19, a number of industries are making big changes in a hurry, possibly none so much as health care.

To help people stay at home, visits with clinicians are going virtual. To ensure there are enough physicians to treat people in need of care, governments are re-examining rules and regulations. These moves and many more are reshaping care. Will some of the changes stick?

Dr. Wyatt Decker, CEO of OptumHealth, says yes. He believes the COVID-19 pandemic will transform the future of health care.

Watch an interview with Dr. Decker to learn more about the changes and their potential long-term effects on all aspects of care including mental health, caring for the elderly, providing services in rural areas and monitoring health at home.


Here’s what you need to know about the ways COVID-19 could forever change health care:

  • Both in terms of behavioral health and physical health, there will be increased utilization and an increased comfort level in embracing digital technologies, including telehealth.
  • In-home technologies that can help people monitor their health and well-being are in the early days of being deployed. They will become more widespread.
  • With guidance from public health authorities, skilled nursing facilities may permanently change how they manage visitors. They may enact screening protocols to prevent the spread of diseases.
  • A new era is coming in which people living in rural communities will be able to more easily access primary medical care and potentially specialty medical care.
  • Health care leaders will learn valuable lessons about workforce flexibility. They’ll review the impact of federal and state decisions to relax rules preventing physicians, advanced practitioners and nurses from practicing medicine across state lines.
  • Going forward there will be a new awareness about the availability of personal protective equipment and the importance of communicating instructions, advice and best practices.
  • The health care system will emerge stronger and more resilient, with a deeper understanding of how all stakeholders can work together.

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