Pandemics, like the one we are currently experiencing, claim millions of lives, destroy economic stability and disrupt the wellbeing of society. The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated the lack of preparedness of healthcare systems across the globe and revealed its fragilities. The Omicron wave and particularly the vaccination process at a global scale, though very asymmetric, may have slowed down the impact of COVID-19, but this does not mean healthcare systems should become complacent.
Experience from this pandemic highlights the need to prepare for large-scale outbreaks and similar pandemics in the future. This is the time to evaluate the lessons learned during the last two years. We must use those lessons to strengthen the capabilities of our healthcare systems, improve our response and preparedness, focus on prevention and surveillance strategies and improve our understanding of elements that may have pandemic potential in the future. It is also the time to reinforce the strategies to reduce the burden of NCDs (noncommunicable diseases), in particular cardiovascular conditions, one of the main collateral damages that resulted from the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this issue, our contributors discuss their experience of COVID-19 and how the management of pandemics can be improved in the future. They outline strategies that can be adopted to build better resilience in global healthcare systems and ensure the world is not as unprepared as during the recent pandemic.
Áine Carroll explores the future of healthcare as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic through the lens of complex systems and pillars of integrated care and highlights the importance of reconceptualisaion of health and care to create a learning system that can adapt and respond to knowledge from different areas.
Giuseppe Tortora and Davide Caramella provide an overview of the logistic challenges during the pandemic, and the use of drones in the future to trigger logistic advancements both in normal operating conditions and emergencies and to reduce legacy vulnerabilities of healthcare systems.
Jodi Keller, Nancy Lehr, Melissa Rose and co-authors discuss a newly developed Surge Operations Call Center (SOCC) that help avert overload in individual hospitals in Ohio by directing patients to hospitals with available bed and staff and how such a system could help improve management during emergencies and improve coordination of patient traffic between hospitals during patient volume surges. Hannah Jackson and Pooja Arora discuss locum general practitioners and how this field remains a worthwhile career trajectory in a post-pandemic world.
Amit Vaidya looks into the impetus behind pharmaceutical development trends and how healthcare policymakers and payers should adapt to emerging new treatments and considerations for a managed approach to adoption. Rahul Varshneya provides an overview of data management challenges that can help improve efficiency, compliance, data security and interoperability in healthcare.
We also feature Charlotte Beardmore, the Director of Professional Policy for the Society and College of Radiographers and President of the European Federation of Radiographer Societies (EFRS). Charlotte discusses the future of radiography and describes ERFS’ strategy for meeting the changing needs of radiographers.
We hope you will enjoy this issue. As always, your feedback is welcome.
Happy Reading and keep safe in an unsafe world!