The year 2020 will forever be seen as a transformative year, bringing immense challenges with top billing going to Covid19.
While the virus was not nearly as lethal as many other past pandemics, its devastation on economies was unmatched, perhaps due to our world’s incredible connectivity- via social media, internet and instant news transmission. We also experienced one of the most contentious elections in US History while also re-awakening some wounds of racial tension.
The silver lining may in fact be that we used the same tools to bring awareness, promote action and we are currently in the throes of the most ambitious public health initiative the world has seen- The eventual vaccination of literally billions of people. Apart from healthcare (telemedicine, commonsense regulation, hospital use prioritization), MANY industry sectors will be forever transformed due to this pesky virus – many for the better.
With adversity comes adaptation and innovation.
Many of you seized this time to focus on things that matter most to you: Spending time with loved ones, focusing on fitness and healthy home cooking, or reshaping your worklife.
We temporarily closed some OrthoNOW® centers but finally received engagement with our telemedicine program, OrthoNOWLive, that we had present, but dormant, for several years. The public finally embraced it and we even saw insurance carriers support and even encourage it. We did our best to support the community in time of need, allowing people to avoid the unsafe emergency rooms, something we had been encouraging well before the dangerous pandemic due to costs and bacterial infections always present. Notice the date on this interview I did during the initial weeks of lockdown.
My practice, Badia Hand to Shoulder Center, shifted to only extreme upper limb emergencies including a host of fitness related injuries since many of us were suddenly bicycling, or home-improvement type accidents since now was the optimal time to repair and renovate at home. International patients dwindled due to travel restrictions, but many spoke to us via Zoom Health, advising them how to manage their pain while in lockdown.
Finally, I managed to finish a book, Healthcare from the Trenches, that I had started early in 2019 which discusses the major challenges to US healthcare delivery. Ironic that the pandemic brought those issues to the forefront and I wrote >85% of it during 10 weeks of the lockdown. It was released in mid-June and was soon an Amazon best-seller in multiple categories.
Finally, I too had time to reflect on my life and pace. What is important, besides my patient care, and how family and home-life is special. I am sure many of us will make sure to not forget these lessons and embrace the coming year with solemn hope and vigor.
Happy holidays and the best to all of you in 2021…