It took a global pandemic and stay-at-home orders for 1.5 billion people worldwide, but something is finally occurring to us: The future we thought we expected may not be the one we get.
We know that things will change; how they’ll change is a mystery. To envision a future altered by coronavirus, Quartz asked dozens of experts for their best predictions on how the world will be different in five years.
Below is an answer from Robin Berzin, the founder of Parsely Health, a company that rethinks primary care. Telemedicine has long been part of the way they treat patients, but Covid-19 made that essential.
Covid-19, while an unbelievable tragedy for the millions affected, in some ways has been an accelerator for businesses, for startups, and for industries—including healthcare. In many ways the pandemic forced us to re-think the systems that weren’t serving us. For the field of health, that meant the pandemic sped up evolutions that were currently underway, such as the shift to telemedicine.
The pandemic served as a painful reminder that underlying conditions and social inequalities in healthcare put certain people—particularly African Americans—at higher risk for poor health outcomes and death. The disease highlighted fatal flaws in the American healthcare system tied to a short-sighted emphasis on emergency and specialty care, at the expense of proactively managing the chronic conditions that make the hundreds of millions of Americans with diabetes, heart disease, and obesity at higher risk of death from the illness.
In five years, I believe we’ll see a world where we’re both moving faster and more thoughtfully in the field of medicine. I believe we’ll have new definitions for “quality medicine” and “access” and that, as a result, our insurance system will fully embrace telemedicine alongside proactive and holistic medical services that reduce the chronic disease burden. My hope is that these changes will happen across both The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the private sector, setting a new standard for how care is delivered.
Today, six out of 10 American adults live with chronic conditions, a number that has gone up steadily for the past 100 years. By 2025, I think we can begin to see that number go down for the first time in a century, if we embrace this moment to heal our healthcare system.
To read more New Normal answers, click here.