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We may not be at the point where you overhear your surgeon saying, “Hey, Google, pass the scalpel,” but artificial intelligence (AI) is gradually making its way into the healthcare industry and, by extension, dermatology and plastic surgery practices. Even in its limited use, AI is already helping providers offer their patients better care, whether it’s preop, in the OR or during the recovery process.

As a result of legal requirements driven by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, outpatient providers have seen an unprecedented drop in patient volume and demand for healthcare services since mid-March. Demand reduction has varied by specialty; however, most providers have experienced drops of at least 60 percent, with some as high as 100 percent. Now, as states begin to reopen, healthcare providers have a critical window to plan to capture as much pent-up demand as possible. It is yet to be seen how much of this demand will be “captured” versus “destroyed;” however, providers can take proactive steps now to optimize practice economics, cash positions and long-term practice strength.

If you think you are completely safe being cared for in a hospital, you need to think again. Medical errors remain one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Most of these errors are caused by human error and are preventable. In fact, these errors are mainly miscommunications between providers on any given patient case. Because patient safety needs to be a priority, we must find ways to rethink how we treat patients.

Since 1969, America has designated February as “Heart Month” — a distinction that’s personal for me. Eleven years ago, shortly after I was sworn in to Congress, I was taken to the hospital after fainting during a workout. The good doctors at The George Washington University Hospital diagnosed me with bradycardia (a slow heartbeat) and outfitted me with a dual-chamber pacemaker. I flew home the next day and have been healthy ever since. Others are not as lucky.

Whether you’re Republican or Democrat, there’s one thing we can all agree on: Americans are paying too much for their prescription drugs. Over the last six years, the median cost of prescription drugs has increased over 70 percent, leaving Americans with an ever-increasing burden for prescriptions that their lives literally depend on. As someone whose family is personally impacted by high prescription drug costs, I understand the struggles that Americans are facing.