One phrase that has almost been inescapable as we all learn to adjust to the pandemic is “the new normal.” People are encouraged to wear masks wherever they go, wash their hands regularly and thoroughly, avoid contact with people and things, and so much more. But while some of these things may just be minor inconveniences to many of us, perhaps no one has seen their lives more upended than patients.
This impact goes beyond high-risk patients—the entire patient experience has been forced to rapidly evolve. A July 2020 report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services found that telehealth adoption increased by nearly 50% in primary care at the peak of the pandemic. But virtual doctor visits are not the only change. More patients are getting medications delivered to their home. Clinical trials are using more wearables and smart devices to monitor participants remotely. Even office visits are different with more contactless displays offering patient education by allowing people to scan a code so they can view the information on their phone.
This is the new normal for patients. Many expect these changes and more to remain long past the current pandemic. That means our industry will also need to adjust to how it serves patients and offer new ways to improve their experience. The good news—it is clear we are up for the challenge. In this issue alone, you will find insights on how companies can improve healthcare literacy and deliver more easily understandable information (especially regarding vaccines, which will hopefully be very important in the near future); ways to ease the burden of financial toxicity and aid patients who now find themselves uninsured; advice on the best tools and services to offer newly diagnosed patients; and more of the ways COVID-19 will change the patient experience moving forward.
Time and again we have seen our industry’s ability to deliver innovations to better serve patients. Heck, you don’t need to look any further than our recently announced Trailblazer Awards finalists to find a plethora of examples that demonstrate our industry’s unmatched imagination, ingenuity, and above all else, compassion for patients. That’s why we can’t wait to celebrate all of your achievements with our Trailblazer Awards Virtual Event on Thursday, October 1 at 6 PM EST. We promise you—this will be the event of the year. So, don’t miss it!