The unforeseen COVID-19 pandemic continues to shake the world, setting conditions for unexpected change. We have no absolute sense of when the pandemic will fade, disappear, or continue in a series of waves, but we see and hear about the tragedy and harm it causes. COVID-19 has boosted the adoption of telemedicine in unexpected ways. I’ve had two medical appointments in as many weeks: a dermatologist and a sports medicine practice. In each case, I saw signs near the office entrances announced the availability of telemedicine services.

Fello, a New Jersey-based corporate mobile hardware rental company that ordinarily serves events and Fortune 500 companies, has shifted its business model to help hospitals and healthcare facilities. With a broad shift to telehealth during the pandemic, many medical groups need to expand their telehealth resources and services quickly. According to a company press release, Fello has had many requests for equipment from hospitals and nursing homes. The facilities issue the devices for patients to use when they communicate remotely with caregivers. Plus, with pandemic-related restrictions on visitors, patients can also use the tablets to communicate with family and friends.

Fello currently has 5,000 iPads available. The company can pre-configure the tablets with required software and either ship them to healthcare facilities for distribution or drop-ship directly to family members with pre-approval by the facility. According to the company release, Fello is renting the equipment with included damage insurance at discounted rates that depend on the volume of devices and the length of the rentals. Rental programs can be extended until the pandemic ends.

Assuming the pandemic does ease up and in-person business events resume pre-COVID-19 levels, it will be interesting to see if Fello continues discounted rentals to assist healthcare facilities with telehealth programs. Since hospitals and clinics may prefer to stay out of the hardware procurement, configuration, distribution, and maintenance businesses, Fello’s business shift may be the start of a new industry empowered by telemedicine.