At this point, I don't think it's hyperbole to say that the Covid-19 pandemic is almost certainly the most transformative historical event since the Second World War. I can already sense some readers rolling their eyes at that statement. What about 9/11? Or the fall of the Berlin Wall? Postwar decolonization? And countless revolutions and social upheavals since then? I'll grant that all of those were massive and transformative. But they didn't occur everywhere, and in many cases, their long-term impacts to daily life were limited. But not since the war has a single event so transformed nearly every aspect of life on a global scale. Everything from the global political alignment to the ways in which any ordinary citizen lives, works, and shops have been utterly—and probably permanently—altered.
We're only just now reckoning with the massive changes wrought by the pandemic. A year ago, I asked my colleagues at Advisory Board to cite what gave them hope amid a terrible fall and winter Covid-19 surge combined with exciting progress on vaccine development. One year later, Covid-19 has moved ever closer from pandemic to endemic—so this time I asked my colleagues what changes to health care surprised them most.
Most health care leaders are aware of the major shifts—the great leaps forward in digital care delivery and vaccine development, and the long-overdue spotlight on egregious disparities in health outcomes, just to name two. But what about some subtler but no less transformative changes? Below, I've curated some of my colleagues' thoughts. Let us know what you think. —Christopher Kerns, Vice President, Executive Insights