LIMA — Discussions on remote working, telemedicine and contact tracing comprised the latest episode of The Lima News podcast, BoomXYZ, which focused on how work expectations may change post coronavirus.
Kari Keener, human resources director with the City of Lima, provided some insights on the human resources side of the equation. During the initial stages of the coronavirus pandemic in March, many human resource specialists found themselves coordinating wide-scale changes across company workforces.
For City of Lima employees, that meant getting people ready for remote working.
“I think a lot of us have really surprised ourselves at how efficient we can be at home,” Keener said. “Obviously, that’s different for everybody’s situation. My kids are grown, so it’s fairly easy for me to work from home.”
Keener said she had not expected for the move to remote working to go as easily as it had, but many employees found that they could change when push came to shove. The need to quickly adapt at low cost too also gave workers the needed pressure to solve any problems caused by the transition.
“The cost of the technology — that was something that kind of scared us off from doing it, but when it became essential that we do it, and you start pulling laptops out, you know, we realize we have a lot more technology available than we even realized that we did,” Keener said.
In a related conversation, Ohio Northern University students Makayla Wells and Eric Dierkes discussed how a population more sure of remote working will approach health care in the future. As students, the two have adapted to their own work-at-home needs relatively well, but graduation has lost some of its luster due to restrictions, Wells said.
In the future, however, being able to remote work will most likely help them down the line, especially as telemedicine grows in popularity.
The two students, both of whom volunteer at the ONU HealthWise Mobile Clinic, said that access to medicine is already a challenge for rural residents. Such mobile clinics can provide better access in some such cases, but telemedicine will also be a tool down the line.
The two already have some experience with the practice.
Wells, for example, has been trying to teach lessons online that traditionally require a laboratory setting. She called the experience “an exercise in how creative or innovative can you be to still those experiences that you need or to deliver care to patients, but in a non-traditional way.”
As for the pharmaceutical industry, the two students think pharmacists will most likely benefit in the long term due to increases in public trust after coronavirus. Because the industry has been able to meet surges in demand and provide expertise on public health during the crisis, pharmacists may be more relied on in the health care system to better coordinate patient medication needs for better outcomes.
“If we can continue to have that great patient provider balance, that we can maintain our trust and know that what our patients ask us, we can answer, truthfully and trustworthy. And if they believe that, then I think we’re going to have better outcomes with that medicine moving forward,” Dierkes said.
You can listen to “BoomXYZ” at limaohio.com, or the series can be found on any of your favorite podcast streaming service.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.