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Healthcare leaders: disorganization, disparities characterized health crisis


Looking back on the early response to the pandemic in the U.S., the first thing that came to mind for Dr. Richard Isaacs was a “striking lack of coordination” at the federal, state and local levels.

The initial lack of guidance left health systems competing with each other to buy masks and other protective equipment.

Teladoc Health Head of R&D Yulun Wang highlights the impact of virtual care in underserved populations around the globe through the World Telehealth Initiative’s (WTI) work at the HOPE Field Hospital in the Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Bangladesh.

“There were significant problems across the country,” said Isaacs, CEO and executive director of the Permanente Medical Group, during a panel discussion at South by Southwest. He and other healthcare leaders reflected on the systemic problems that hampered the pandemic response, and hopes of change for the future.

Similar to the PPE problems, testing was also in short supply, with results taking up to 10 days to return when supplies were backlogged over the spring and summer. To solve this, Kaiser Permanente built a testing center in California that could process up to 20,000 tests per day.

Another sticking point was the clear health disparities in which communities were hit hardest […]

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