What Has the Medical Industry Learned From COVID-19?
Over the last year, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic forced the U.S. health care community to implement new strategies in real-time.
Of course, it’s difficult to imagine an industry that has not been negatively impacted by the spread of the Novel Coronavirus causing COVID-19 infections. In concert with the medical community, individuals and institutions are responding to the health crisis in many ways.
From quarantines, shelter-in-place orders, and adjustments in how people work and shop to relying on masks, vaccines, and therapeutics, we have made significant adjustments in our day-to-day lives.
With many people still growing ill, the medical industry is forced to get ahead of the spread of the disease.
The latest statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicate there have been 450,229,635 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, including 6,019,085 deaths (as of March 10th, 2022, the most current figures available from WHO). The WHO notes that medical practitioners have administered 10,704,043,684 doses of vaccine to date.
These sobering statistics highlight the need for professionals in health care to learn more to fight the pandemic. With that in mind, learn how the medical interconnect industry developed new products and solutions to support critical care devices used for patient care during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Novel Methods to Identify COVID-19 Infections
We’ve all heard of contact tracing, where health care professionals will determine who has been in recent contact with a person infected with COVID-19 and then reach out to them, through information obtained via interviews, text messages, and tracking data pulled from smartphone apps.
In terms of identifying who is sick and who has antibodies to COVID-19, the medical community has developed various tests to provide fast results on-site as well as more precise tests that require more time with processing in a central laboratory. We’ve learned that rapid deployment of such tests and making more testing facilities available are vital in getting control over the pandemic.
One novel approach to identifying the level of COVID-19 infections in a community to help predict its spread and impact on local hospitals, clinics, and doctors’ offices comes from a surprising source – sewage.
According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Wastewater (sewage) surveillance is a promising tool for tracking the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19.” The CDC explains that many individuals “with COVID-19 shed the virus in their feces, so testing wastewater can help us find COVID-19 in communities.”
So, with ongoing wastewater surveillance, we can use the data to better prepare our communities to respond to surges in infections.
Health Care Professionals Weigh in on What We Are Learning From COVID-19
To address how the medical community has been responding to the COVID-19 health crisis and what we are learning from this pandemic, health care leaders convened in a special online webinar hosted by U.S. News & World Report.
They wanted to reflect on what they saw working in the fight against the pandemic and what didn’t work. It quoted Kevin Mahoney, Chief Executive Officer of the University of Pennsylvania Health System, who noted, “What I admired most about the approach that everyone took ... was the rapid iteration of how quickly we learned about the disease, how to treat it, how to move forward.”
Highlights from Discussions at the Webinar Include:
Telemedicine to the Rescue: A team at Penn Medicine devoted its surveillance, not to in-hospital care, but through remote care, using a new app named COVID Watch. Clinical workers used the app to monitor patients from the safety of home.
It’s Not Easy to Plan for All Scenarios: Pennsylvania’s team also noted that budgeting for the pandemic wasn’t always a certain thing. For example, medical care providers made large, initial investments to stockpile extra ventilators. The theory was that hospitals would soon be overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients who could no longer breathe on their own. But the majority of patients wound up not requiring ventilation, fortunately.
Pre-Pandemic Preparation for In-Home Care Made a Difference: It’s useful to keep in mind that medical professionals had done some early work in setting up in-home care systems before the appearance of the Novel Coronavirus. The Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, implemented digital strategies that include at-home care before any hint of COVID-19 infections in this country.
Disparities in Community Coverage: Penn Medicine workers cite the adage that “20 blocks should not mean 20 years of life,” to account for how life expectancy rates can vary dramatically, with some people in high-income areas living to 80 or older while residents in lower-income neighborhoods lived only 56 years on average. So, one lesson from the pandemic is to do more to tighten the difference in health care outcomes for people in different economic brackets.
More Data Is Needed: To better serve individuals in different communities, participants in the U.S. News & World Report webinar indicated a need for better, more comprehensive data about the state of health on a more granular level. While local organizations did step in to help residents in crisis, there needs to be a coordinated effort to gather, compile, and analyze more data sooner. This kind of capability will help us address the next pandemic to come.
Affordability of Care: The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the need for better access to healthcare, as well as making it more affordable for all. Webinar participants discussed such potential solutions as using analytics to determine a patient’s ability to pay for care, and what the preferred method of communication is for patients, so they can stay in better contact with providers.
An Eye Toward a Future With the Medical Industry Keeping COVID-19 at Bay
With health agencies cooperating from around the world and more people gaining access to vaccines as well as vital protective equipment, here’s hoping that the medical industry can continue to help the world beat the new Coronavirus and damp down the flames of the pandemic.
The Amphenol Difference
Every aspect of our lives has been affected in one way or another by COVID-19. At Amphenol Alden, we have worked tirelessly to provide on-time delivery of high-quality medical products that aid in the recovery and ensure patients’ safety.
Our knowledgeable staff members and interconnect experts can help you find the right connector or cable assembly to meet your needs. Standard products like our Pulse-Lok®, pulseOne, and Medi|Mate offer performance unparalleled to other brands while being reasonably priced – making them perfect for many different types of equipment. And our customized options make it easy for those who need specific cables or connectors.
To see how these new innovative medical products could benefit your healthcare facility, contact Amphenol Alden today.