Freeman Cebu Business

Are there positive sides of the corona crisis?

INTEGRITY BEAT - Henry Schumacker - The Freeman

The corona pandemic is difficult to bear for most people, if not for all of us. Given the likelihood that the Covid-19 is going to stay with us a long time, it may be good to look beyond the negatives and also become aware of and appreciate some of the positive sides the pandemic is producing. There are medically relevant aspects that are emerging but there are also behavioral changes that positively affect us in the working environment and in dealing with people at large.

In other words, the corona crisis brings us forward in many areas. While these cannot compensate for the personal fates and the various collateral damage of fighting the pandemic, there is "learning" from the crisis.

Allow me to highlight a few positive aspects that I see:

Among other things, the following positive aspects should be appreciated:

• Inflammatory and viral diseases have been significantly reduced since the outbreak of the pandemic. This decline can be measured, for example, in antibiotic prescriptions, which fell to a 20-year low in 2020. Society has internalized the importance to protect against infection. Wearing face masks is part of the protection that will save many lives.

• While the pandemic has demonstrated the impressive capabilities of our hospitals, weaknesses in the healthcare system have been uncovered. The structural deficits are most evident in digitalization. I am sure that the shortcomings in the staffing and financial resources for the healthcare system will soon be resolved and that there will be a digital upgrade. The health system will then be better equipped to face future challenges.

• Speaking of digitalization: For many doctors, e-learning and online medicine have become part of everyday life in the past twelve months. For medical practices and clinics, Covid-19 is becoming a turbo for the digital transformation of their activities; they are already much better today than they were a year ago.

Telemedicine will receive a huge boost. In this context, one speaks of “digital resilience”. Optimizing digitalization is the best way to immunize yourself against unpredictable crises and external problems. 

• Digital innovations will revolutionize medicine in the future. Modern apps will do a lot of work for doctors. This allows them to concentrate more on the patient and devote time to them. Digitalization will make medicine even more human in the future.

• The achievements of BioNTech, Curevac and Moderna (to name a few companies only) in vaccine development put mRNA technology in the spotlight. Public interest, higher research funding, fresh capital, the influx of the best scientists are visible signs. The development of drugs on the basis of mRNA is being advanced significantly faster and will benefit us all.

• With the pandemic, society is also becoming increasingly aware of the job changes in many medical careers. The statement that this professional group would not be rewarded except for applause for their commitment should prove to be incorrect. Nursing staff incomes and working conditions are likely to improve in the coming years, which is perfectly reasonable.

An increasing part of the population is now aware about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. I have never seen so many joggers and bikers in these weeks and months.

The corona pandemic also gives cause for hope and a positive mood for the future in many places. There is a clear acceleration in innovation, data management and data analysis. People want to be connected to game changers and celebrate change. Leaders of organizations understand that they have to move from being ‘commanders’ to becoming ‘coaches’ and create a culture of change.

It has to be understood that people and work come first, then the emerging technology. Why?

Innovation isn't just a technology process. A cultural shift setting innovators free to try new things and keeping employees involved bridges emerging tech adoption with innovation. 

There are surely more positive sides to the corona crisis and our new appreciation of simple things in life. Please send me your views; contact me at hjschumacher59@gmail.com    

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