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Thought Leaders: Positives from the COVID-19 Pandemic

Pam Nicholson was featured in the July edition of MCOL Thoughtleaders newsletter. The question asked was:

“What positives might ultimately result – post-pandemic in our healthcare system – due to the impact of COVID-19?”

Out of every personal challenge there comes opportunity to grow, to change, and to make a difference. The question is whether you are willing to make the changes and live your life anew or fall back into the same way of doing things. Health systems are not that different. COVID-19 has changed everything for everybody in all aspects of their life but especially in healthcare.

Health systems of today are dealing with numerous challenges from ensuring enough ICU beds, to re-designing their supply chain, to responding to changing consumer preferences and the re-surging of the virus that will continue to wreak havoc with revenue and expenses. As all this can seem overwhelming, there are opportunities a health system should be considering as they develop their plans for moving forward. All health systems are grounded by their mission and vision.

Commonalities across the health systems include taking care of those that are ill and improving the health of communities they serve. Health systems should be listening to their communities, their patients, and their workforce to design new processes that provide confidence, safety, and trust. Services can be redesigned to focus on increasing value to the patient. Duplicative services can be eliminated. The transition from inpatient to ambulatory, home care and digital may need to accelerate.

Health systems should continue to advocate more than ever for the health and betterment of their communities. This includes partnering with payers and state governments to ensure care is accessible and affordable for all. It means working with other advocacy groups focused on the social determinants and finding solutions that are equitable and inclusive. The positives from doing this will be many: growth opportunities, increased efficiencies, decreased costs, and most rewarding will be the increased trust among all parties. Health systems with the courage to change have the opportunity to come out of this crisis stronger and even more impactful to the lives they serve. That would be a lasting positive for us all.

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