Just when many of us thought summer was ushering in a season of normalcy, the Delta variant’s surge has been decisive, as if to say: not so fast. The CDC, cities, and individuals are rapidly re-adjusting expectations as more information becomes known. That leaves many people with thorny questions, like what to do about travel, family visits – and, critically, how to stay on top of our health.
Though it remains unclear if Delta makes people sicker, the variant is the most contagious strain to be identified so far. The leading COVID-19 vaccines have been proven to offer strong protection against it. But the uncertainty about what to do now is especially acute for those who are immunocompromised, for whom the vaccines are less efficacious, or who cannot be vaccinated, like kids under 12.
At Abridge, our goal is to make it easier to understand and follow through on your health, so we put together these tips on how to navigate your health even as Delta shifts the landscape.
Don’t delay important health exams due to Covid-19 and Delta.
Recently, we conducted a survey that showed that more than half of people had put off things like routine doctors’ visits, evidence of just how much people put their lives on hold during the pandemic. Many added that — after more than 18 months under the strain of COVID-19-imposed preventive measures — they would play catch-up on these visits as summer gives way to fall. It’s important that this health crisis doesn’t spark others, to the degree we can mitigate that. Move visits to telehealth where possible, take precautions like masking, and call your doctor’s office before your visit to understand what safety measures they have in place to keep you safe. It’s important to maintain regular health visits.
Leverage telehealth and record where possible.
The pandemic normalized the digitization of healthcare with the rapid expansion of telehealth appointments. While our survey found that 53% of people actually prefer to seek medical care in person, you may find peace of mind — or find it necessary — to rely on telehealth capabilities again as Delta continues to surge.
Recording doctors' visits also became more mainstream during a year when understanding your health was crucial — 59% of doctors recommend their patients use their phones to record information about next steps, given how important it is to understand and follow through on the care plan. You can use Abridge to record your telehealth visits – heads up, you may need to use 2 devices. If your telehealth visit is on your computer, then record on your phone. If your telehealth visit is on your phone, then use another phone to record your visit.
Recording is helpful for reflecting on your doctor’s instructions, but people who use Abridge also say that it helps bring better visibility into and context for the whole health journey. This is especially true of longer gaps between visits, such as between annual exams, or across your different healthcare providers.
Share health details digitally.
For decades, doctors and patients have exchanged health information remotely, but recent advances in technology have expanded our ability to share health records digitally with our loved ones. This was especially important during the pandemic as healthcare providers pivoted to telehealth setups and limited the number of visitors that could join for appointments. Tools like Abridge mean that you can bring more people into the room with you, even if they can’t actually be present physically.
Mask up where it makes sense.
Recent research has suggested that vaccinated individuals who become infected with the Delta variant can still spread the virus — so back to masks we go. This ultimately protects the unvaccinated, such as young children who are not yet eligible for vaccination as well as people who are at higher risk for serious illness. This is especially important in places with high transmission rates.
Overall, it’s important to remember to strike a balance between the acute risks Delta presents and the long-term positive impact that routine healthcare visits can have. Have other thoughts or questions on how to navigate your health and Delta, or have ideas on how Abridge can help? We’d love to hear from you. Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The collective voice of the Abridge team.