How we think about healthcare is often a matter of perspective. The academic world focuses on quality, access, and costs. Medical centers look at key performance indicators (KPIs) and pay close attention to things like infection rates, readmissions, revenue goals, and efficiency. Healthcare strategists track industry trends, including consolidation, telemedicine, AI, and the influence of companies like Amazon and Apple.
2020 has been a reminder that healthcare is about people caring for other people. It’s about the nurse holding a patient’s hand while they wait for the anesthesia to kick in, the social worker looking a scared mother in the eye and listening to her, the ER doctor coming to work knowing the chaos ahead, and countless resilient and passionate others.
This year has been overwhelmingly challenging for healthcare workers, but throughout the pandemic there have been moments of kindness and hope. As I look back on 2020, three shining moments stand out.
- The public tributes to healthcare workers. In the early days of the pandemic, each night at 7pm, New Yorkers stood on their roofs and balconies and clapped to honor first responders. Firefighters gave healthcare workers a standing ovation outside of hospitals. Actions like these were a beautiful acknowledgement of the tireless efforts of doctors, nurses, and other essential workers.
- Seeing Covid survivors discharged from the hospital as medical providers cheered. The pandemic has taken an emotional toll on medical providers, from the fears associated with PPE shortages and overcrowded facilities to the heartbreak of losing so many patients. Celebratory moments like these were rare, and that made them feel even more meaningful.
- The first Covid vaccinations. After months of speculation and updates on when a Covid-19 vaccine would be available, first responders began receiving the vaccine. We are not out of the woods yet — Covid continues to be a serious threat throughout the United States. As the rollout of the vaccine progresses in 2021, I urge all of you to stay vigilant. Please continue to take precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.