As I wrote earlier this year for New York Score, the pandemic has forced businesses to innovate like never before. Faced with an unprecedented healthcare crisis — one that still lingers, over a year after it first devastated the U.S. — leaders have unearthed solutions, especially in the technological sector, that enabled them to stay afloat in their respective fields.

In fact, these solutions figure to serve organizations well going forward, in that they will offer them opportunities for growth. Some 70 percent of executives believe that will be the case, according to McKinsey, with the following sectors showing particular advancement: technology, consumer packaged goods, pharmaceutical/medical supplies, financial services, retail and healthcare systems/services.

(This should not come as a surprise, by the way. As I also wrote in the summer of 2020 — on that occasion for Provider magazine — history is rife with examples of calamity spurring innovation. Particularly notable was the manner in which the Black Death led to the demise of the feudal system, and the rise of science-based medical practices.)

In the case of the COVID-19 pandemic, the pharmaceutical space showed the most obvious gains, with its rapid development of a vaccine. Other sectors have made their own inroads — witness the manner in which remote work and enhanced safety protocols have taken hold — and we here at The Allure Group have ventured down new avenues as well.

In fact, we were doing so well before the pandemic hit, part of our ongoing commitment to being on the cutting edge of technology. That was most obvious in the placement of Samsung tablets at each of the 1,400 bedsides in our six facilities — PadInMotion technology, as it has come to be known. While residents first used those tablets for entertainment and relaxation purposes, they became a vital communication link to loved ones, when government-imposed lockdowns were enforced at the height of the pandemic.

In addition, we have partnered with Vis a Vis Health to improve transitional care. Residents are given hand-held devices upon their discharge, enabling communication between them and healthcare professionals. The devices also track vital signs.

Certainly other sectors have made advances of their own, fully aware of the consequences of failing to do so. As I mention in the New York Score piece, there were those who suffered from Innovation Management Anxiety, which caused C-Suite inertia, but the more common response has been to strike out in a new direction, to find the most effective solutions possible.

And goodness knows they are well within reach, offered by such things as:

  • 5G: The major carriers — AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile — are all at various stages of rolling out the fifth generation of wireless technology, which promises speeds as great as 100 times that of 4G, and decreased latency. This is expected to lead to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  • AI/Robotics: Modern robots, featuring smart sensors, will likewise have a considerable impact on industry, as well as healthcare. Allure, for example, features a state-of-the-art robotics suite for rehabilitation from various conditions, and the impact of these devices is felt elsewhere in such areas as wellness, diagnosis, detection, treatment, end-of-life care, research and training.
  • Internet of Behavior (IoB): Involves the collection and examination of data about people from various gadgets, data that reveals likes, dislikes, spending habits, etc. By 2023, in fact, it is predicted that 40 percent of the global population will be tracked.
  • Upskilling: Automation has led to predictions of widespread job loss, as well as forecasts of a net gain. Certainly jobs will continue to change, meaning that upskilling — like that which is already occurring at Amazon and AT&T — will be crucial going forward.

The larger point, again, is that every business, including healthcare, was already evolving. The pandemic merely accelerated the process. Now there is no going back. Now our world is forever changed.