COVID-19, Technology & How Far We’ve Come

COVID-19 is changing our lives in significant ways.  Words cannot express the gratitude I have for medical professionals, first responders and other essential workers that put themselves on the front line to take care of the sick and make sure the rest of us have access to the essentials (food, medicine, etc).

I’m also very thankful for technology.  As we are navigating something most of us have never experienced before, my mind wanders back in time…Imagining our daily lives during this global pandemic without the technology we have today.  Say 10, 15, or 20 years ago…

On my first day of a new job back in the late 90’s, I sat through a typical HR orientation, got the tour, and was taken to my desk.  I see a bunch of paper file folders, a computer terminal, a telephone, a stapler, notepad, pen and…a Dictaphone.   Dicta-whaaat?  Yep, a Dictaphone. For those of you too young to remember what I’m talking about…google it. It was a device that looked like a phone without a keypad.  It had a button on the handset that you pressed to activate the recording.

Fast forward a few years to a new job at a different company.  The desk looks quite a bit different.  No more Dictaphone.  PCs are everywhere.  But still lots of paper everywhere.  10 years ago inventory was sometimes measured with a ruler. Ex:  1″= 1 hour of work for 10 people and that doesn’t include printed emails or web portal transaction.  (yep, those were often printed).

Fast forward another few years.  The stacks of paper are getting lower.  Work is no longer measured by the inch.  Paper is scanned, data is transmitted, work is delivered electronically.  Network technology has improved and increased.  The Digital Transformation has started.  Digital Transformation isn’t usually a light switch that you turn on and you’re done.  It is a process that evolves.    As a result of that evolution, many workers can actually work from home.  A remote workforce became possible.  Sure, there may still be some paper, but the shift away from paper is REAL.

We are fortunate that digital technologies that allow much of our workforce to work remotely.  Microsoft Office, G Suite, Zoho, among many others.  With Social Media, Social distancing doesn’t have to mean social isolation. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat…virtual happy hour on Zoom (or Teams or Slack) anyone? The list of opportunities to engage remotely are endless – thanks to technology.  Streaming entertainment with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, YouTube, etc.  Even some non-urgent/emergency medical care can be done via tele-visits with the help of Facetime, or EHR apps.

Imagine the ER admission desk just 20 years ago vs. today.  Paper forms, clipboards & pens used by every sick person that has come in.  If you weren’t sick when you went in, you might be by the time you leave.   Today, most ER admission desks scan your health insurance card and enter your information in the computer where it is accessible for everyone on your care team.

We don’t often think about the benefits of technological advancements, especially during a time like this.  They just become part of our daily lives that we take for granted.  Today, I am fortunate to work for an organization that was fully prepared to support a remote workforce.  We’re all working remotely, keeping our clients and their systems supported even through turbulent times.  Because of technology and Kiriworks, I am able to do my part to help keep medical professionals, first responders and other essential workers safer by staying home.

As we navigate through this unprecedented time, it’s easy to find ourselves focusing on all the negative. I encourage you to take a moment to appreciate some of the behind the scenes tools and technology that are assisting us and making this very tough time just a little easier to navigate. Kiriworks is here and ready to help. Take care of your tribe and stay healthy!