3 Years Later: How Accurate were our COVID-19 Predictions?

In the midst of the chaos and uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, Eliciting Insights did what we do best: we surveyed the market.  In March of 2020,  365 consumers responded to our survey that asked the top ways they believe COVID-19 will improve their lives in three years.

We hypothesized that when the dust settled, we would emerge from this global crisis forever changed with much of our daily lives better than before the pandemic. Now, it’s time to revisit our survey’s predictions and assess how well we forecasted the lasting impact of the pandemic.

Let’s dive into a few of our March 2020 survey’s predictions on the top ways COVID-19 would make our lives better.

More companies will offer remote work. 

Our prediction that more companies would allow remote work has been proven correct. 

In fact, Gartner projects that 51% of American knowledge workers will work hybrid and 20% will work fully remote this year. 

The pandemic accelerated the shift towards flexible work arrangements, allowing people to achieve a better work-life balance and reduce commuting time, resulting in improved productivity and job satisfaction.

Telehealth will be more widely used.

This prediction came true.

Prior to the pandemic, most hospitals had telehealth solutions, but many patients were unable to access them. This was largely due to restrictive federal and state regulations that created barriers to Medicare and Medicaid coverage, licensing, and credentialing, preventing many patients from taking advantage of the services.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced federal and state governments to loosen regulations, which allowed providers to offer more telehealth services that insurance companies would reimburse. As a result, telehealth usage skyrocketed, with 68% of patients using services in early 2020. 

Although decreased from its peak, telehealth usage is still higher than before the pandemic. In 2021, the National Health Survey reported that 37% of Americans used telehealth services in the last year, while a recent 2022 government pulse survey showed that 22% of Americans have used telehealth services in the last month

The American Medical Association predicts that telehealth will continue to grow, especially if it remains included in employer benefits packages and regulatory barriers are reduced.

We will practice better hand hygiene.

One prediction that did not come true was that people would wash their hands more often. 

In addition, hand hygiene compliance among healthcare workers does not appear to have improved even after the COVID-19 pandemic. This may be due to the finding that COVID-19 is primarily spread through respiratory droplets rather than surface transmission. 

However, the pandemic has raised awareness of personal hygiene and the importance of maintaining a clean environment. 

On a positive note, some studies show that hospital-acquired infections decreased during the pandemic and have continued to decline.

We will value teachers more.

This is a mixed prediction.

While individual parent satisfaction with their children’s education remains steady, the education system as a whole and its teachers have faced scrutiny and divisiveness.

Public schools and educators have been thrust into the limelight, becoming subjects of political debates. Unfortunately, teachers are bearing the brunt of the burden, with burnout rates that are higher than any other profession.

While the prediction that parents and kids would appreciate teachers more hasn’t fully come to fruition, it is essential to recognize the vital role teachers play in shaping our society.

As we reflect on our predictions from three years ago, it is evident that the COVID-19 pandemic significantly changed our lives. While some expectations were spot-on, such as the rise of remote work and increased utilization of telehealth, others have been influenced by various scientific and cultural factors, such as shifting understandings of virus transmission.

As we continue to move through the post-pandemic world, it is essential to acknowledge the positive changes that have occurred and to remain grateful to the nation’s healthcare and educational workers who serve our communities on a daily basis.

To see the full results of our 2020 survey, or to learn how Eliciting Insights can help your healthcare technology company gain insights needed to make better decisions and build better products, please contact me.

Trish Rivard | CEO & Principal Consultant
M: 860.938.9290  |  [email protected]