The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprescribed disruption for the global health care community. It has been more than a half year since the world health organization officially declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic further, the pandemic has caused a massive impact on the health care industry.
The effect of COVID-19 has either exposed or reinforced fragilities in healthcare delivery across systems worldwide. The experience has demonstrated insufficiencies and inefficiencies in the health care sector, ranging from quality of care and capacity to access and from the application of digital health solutions to the availability of supplies and medications.
It has accelerated innovation and opened up vast opportunities for change, addressing these weaknesses in a way that facilitates the sustainable new design of care delivery. Providing agile care is the future state of healthcare that enables health practices to be flexible, adaptive, and responsive to new information, further streamlining processes to provide more value and effectively adopt new technologies to enhance care.
Achieving this will require incorporating and interacting with system components, including infrastructure, patient-centered, and business-centric digital technology, which will complement the development of sensing and responsive systems.
COVID-19 forces us to consider healthcare delivery beyond the individual patient focus to a broader lens that looks at implications within and across communities. Adaptive approaches need to spread in both infrastructure and care delivery design.
Flexibility in physical infrastructure design to accommodate epidemic and pandemic scenarios can help shape spaces to isolate ventilation and reduce clinician exposure. To accommodate emergency triage requirements and adapt for additional patient care.
It is significant to note that the first signs of a healthcare emergency are low-acuity symptoms. So proper care delivery design and the assignment of distinct care models closer to communities are key health management strategies.
With the significant support of a physical and robust digital infrastructure, the inclusion of the health system in a community will facilitate better access, locally-focused health services, and more efficient and appropriate references to settings. It is a strategic move away from the hospital-centric approach to the patient-centered approach.
To effectively prepare for future epidemics or emergencies, the health system needs to be secure and responsive to the health needs of its local population. They also need to be flexible and resilient in the population. This shift from fragility to resilience is not linear. Existing hospitals and health care systems need to focus on optimization to prepare for upcoming future outbreaks.