It would be an understatement to say our lives have been changed by the pandemic. More family time, the ability to connect via technology, and the happiness of dogs everywhere, have been silver linings in an extremely difficult year. On the professional side, many of us have worked through the hiccups of remote work and are maybe starting to prefer it when compared to going to the office every day.
For the industries that touch much of our day-to-day – healthcare, manufacturing, education, and government – the pandemic has shown the challenges industry leaders have faced and are facing, as well as solutions for the future.
Telemedicine May Be Here to Stay
A crisis can often illuminate emerging issues, and the Covid-19 pandemic was no different when it came to the healthcare industry. Staffing shortages and unequal access to care are complex realities healthcare leaders are working to solve. The pandemic highlighted the impact of social determinants of health and are helping healthcare providers and researchers answer why different populations have higher Covid-19 infection rates and outcomes. The past year also highlighted how hospitals have traditionally been the hub for patient care, and that it is a model that is not sustainable. Instead, we can expect a period of change as healthcare providers work to spread access to care to more clinics and primary care providers, reducing strain on hospitals that were already facing staffing shortages.
Another aspect of the healthcare industry changed by the pandemic is telemedicine. We can expect many healthcare providers to use telemedicine when possible and for patients to view it as an acceptable model for care. What was widely used in rural areas to increase access to healthcare, may now be used in many situations. Telemedicine, while beneficial for many, has its own challenges, and will require healthcare staff to be trained on the technology to provide top care in a virtual environment.
Increasing Access with the Virtual Classroom
Higher education institutions were expected, almost overnight, to transition to a remote learning model. Fast forward more than a year, and many institutions are seeing the benefits to a remote learning environment. Many colleges and universities have robust and sustainable programs that open their campuses to a global community. Instead of being confined by physical campuses, virtual higher ed learning institutions have ability to invite guest speakers from around the world into their classroom and integrate students’ own communities into the higher education experience.
Remote learning can also increase student engagement. Remember the days of sitting in a 500-person lecture hall? Instructors and students can now have small discussions in breakout rooms and get a more personalized experience. Additionally, remote opportunities open the door to students who might otherwise not be able to afford or travel to attend college, increasing broader access to higher education.
Focusing on the Cloud and Data Analytics in the Public Sector
Public sector innovation reached new heights during the pandemic as government leaders reimagined how public services were accessed. Many government services were moved online, such as the written portion of driving tests and court hearings. This enabled the public sector to increase access to government services in a more equitable, efficient, and cost-effective way. Digital processes and a hybrid work model have a good chance of sticking around for the public sector, just like the private sector.
The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) identified the top trends government CIOs are prioritizing as we move forward from the pandemic. The list includes cloud services and data analytics, trends organizations across all industries are adoption to digitally transform operations. A focus on cloud services helps organizations be more successful in a remote or hybrid work environment and increases security to comply with federal security standards. The shift to cloud also helps the government sector better predict their budgets and reduce expenditures, allocating more resources and time to executing on their role.
Saving Time and Money with Remote Implementations
The manufacturing industry has seen highs and lows throughout the pandemic depending on the sector. Those in the healthcare sector were booming with the need for PPE (personal protective equipment) while aviation manufacturers saw a sharp decline as travel was limited. The past year has been full of adapting to new rules and regulations, new ways of working, and many times, adapting to the limitations brought on by legacy technology. As manufacturers look to the other side of the pandemic, many are seeing the benefits and opportunities the cloud brings, such as agility, flexibility, and the ability to access mission critical business software from any location.
The ability to access systems from anywhere at any time is important as manufacturers adopt a new trend – remote implementations. What started as a necessity during lock downs and quarantines may become the new normal as businesses recognize the benefits to staying remote. Saving on travel time, costs, and keeping their team healthy are just a few of the reasons remote implementations are here to stay.
About the author
Steve Csuka is president of Avaap. Avaap is a specialized technology transformation firm that partners with organizations to evaluate and implement enterprise solutions, manage change for greater adoption, and achieve their future vision.