From research to telehealth visits, health care sees many changes amid pandemic
(Michelle Song/Daily Bruin)
March 5, 2021 5:35 p.m.
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed everyone’s lives, especially for those working in health care. There have been both administrative and practical changes as a result of the pandemic to the health care industry, many of which are expected to remain even after the pandemic. These four stories highlight some of the many changes that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to health care.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the demand and usage of telehealth services has significantly increased. Telehealth services allow people to receive medical care in a safe environment.
UCLA Health adopted telehealth for a large number of its health care services, including mental health and symptom monitoring services. At the start of the pandemic, between 60 to 80% of UCLA Health visits were administered using telehealth platforms, a UCLA doctor said.
Some medical experts said telehealth may continue being a large part of the health care industry after the COVID-19 pandemic because of its convenience.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has brought an onslaught of innovations to help tackle the issue of social distancing and lack of in-person opportunities, it has also increased obstacles to access to health care.
Access to health care can be determined by a range of factors, including socioeconomic status and financial stability. People from lower socioeconomic standings are more likely to be at risk for contracting COVID-19 because of their need to be employed, often in low-paid essential services.
Many essential jobs do not have the same protections as other jobs, which increases the chances of exposure, a UCLA professor said.
Another consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic is the ability of professors and students to conduct research at UCLA. With limited operations on campus, some research labs were forced to close or modify to a hybrid or virtual environment.
UCLA only allows essential researchers to conduct research on campus. Research projects have been halted at various stages of the research process with indefinite timelines to return.
The shift to majority online schooling has presented significant changes for students on the pre-health care track or currently in medical school.
Several students said the mostly virtual environment has made it difficult to get internships, research or clinical experience. Some students have delayed their timelines, while others have modified their learning to fit the new virtual environment.
Several pre-med and pre-health clubs at UCLA have also adopted new systems to have a wider audience for their services and to connect students with mentors to guide them through the process.