A physical and mental healthcare worker well-being plan needs to be developed and implemented – at a national level. An insight by Dr Vivek Sahi,MD, U4RAD Technologies
The last two years have been very difficult, not just for healthcare but for human beings in general, humans are naturally resistant to change, yet have always had to learn to adapt to survive when there is no choice and that`s what they have had to endure, in the same vein, healthcare and healthcare delivery too has had to adapt, it didn’t have any choice as it was at the epicentre of the pandemic.
Harsh lessons were learnt, that have doubled up as opportunities for humans to assess, and implement to ensure that healthcare is better prepared for any and every such scenario that occurs going forward and according to me the following should be priorities for healthcare providers going into the future.
Collaborate rather than compete
Competition is the norm in the private sector, one would have thought that during an event like the pandemic, private healthcare providers would have pooled their resources together and collaborated however that was not the case. Demand outstripped supply and was being provided to the highest bidder. Supplies were being redirected to larger healthcare providers, and smaller ones were losing out. Vendors and some providers alike were ‘Making hay while the sun shone,’ The losers being the patients. Effective collaboration would have bought about more effective management, and better use of resources, which could have aided in better delivery of healthcare, desired clinical outcomes, and fewer deaths.
One of the largest gaping holes during the pandemic was the chronic shortage of oxygen – the biggest gap identified being poor supply chain management. Bringing all stakeholders together to create a robust supply chain strategy, ensuring there is a proper and transparent supply chain process, that can be tracked at each point – from production to point of delivery to the patient – needs to be implemented, to ensure continuous and seamless supply. It is not just oxygen, but supplies of consumables, medication and even essentials for frontline healthcare workers would greatly benefit.
The well-being of healthcare workers
The well-being of healthcare workers stuck out like a sore thumb – Whether it was physical attacks on doctors and nurses or the mental strain and premature burnout that was bought about with endless hours of taking care of very sick patients leading to PTSD, this, in my opinion, is a critical priority. A physical and mental healthcare worker well-being plan needs to be developed and implemented – at a national level. This would ensure that constant mental and physical problems being faced by healthcare provider workers, frontline- and behind the lines- alike are adequately addressed and managed – A healthy workforce is a productive workforce!
Digitisation of healthcare provision
Healthcare providers have always resisted and lagged behind the rest of the world where technology is concerned. Technology was never the problem- resistance to change is. However, due to the nature of the virus, Healthcare providers were forced to start using technology – more so in the area of telehealth. Online consultations and prescribing have become the norm, and although a great tart has been made there is still much more to do. Healthcare providers need to seize the opportunity to create hybrid online and offline healthcare provision models that are patient-centric and safe, as well as ensure the best possible clinical outcomes for patients, this could be in he form of patients getting healthcare services at their homes to managing their healthcare remotely themselves. However digitisation doesn’t just apply to clinical aspects, it equally applies to paraclinical services management, eg – Physiotherapy, and occupational therapy, as well as non- linical areas such as supply chain management, CSSD & hospitality services, administrative & HR functions and patient education.
We have been allowed to write the “New Normal” let us not waste that by not improving!