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Lessons Learnt During COVID in India

COVID -19 has made us rethink everything that impacts us, whether directly or indirectly. We were almost reborn in a certain sense. It has been a cycle of learning, unlearning, and relearning.

Continuous Remote Monitoring of Vital Signs Matter

During COVID- 19, the frontline workers operated under very trying and challenging situations.  In such times remote monitoring reduced the physical interaction between a healthcare worker and the patient thereby, reducing the chances of a healthcare provider getting infected. It certainly made a definitive positive difference. It provided time to healthcare workers to concentrate on other critical patient care aspects while being able to monitor a patient continuously. It certainly helped in easing the challenging situation. Similarly, remote consultations also helped in managing the situation at hospitals.

Healthcare Infrastructure Needs To Be Both Available and Accessible

The healthcare infrastructure was under immense stress during the pandemic. There was a huge crisis in terms of hospital supplies, even when it was available the prices sky-rocketed until the government came in and capped the pricing of essential COVID care supplies. Few cities in the country had also evoked the Maintenance of Essential Services Act to address the rising crisis of availability of resources. The challenge is not only about resources being available, resources need to be available at pricing which can be afforded by all. Availability of supplies, accessibility, and pricing, is always a challenge.

We need to address the factor of availability particularly. We are better prepared now with government regulations in place. Vaccinations have come also come in at the right time and have aided the situation. The second wave shook us in terms of infrastructure, human resource deployment, supplies coupled with behavioural challenges such as the reluctance to work in COVID wards, unwillingness to take the vaccination.

Mobilization of Talent Pool Is Necessary and Critical Moving Forward

The pandemic brought to the forefront our limitations and challenges. Our main challenge was that healthcare was inadequately staffed to handle a crisis of this nature. Addressing this factor will be critical moving forward. We need to mobilize the talent pool to cater to the mounting challenges of such times. Enabling final-year nurses and students to support the front-line workers in terms of additional helping hands has eased the situation. We need to deploy this talent pool in the field. This process is already underway and the Government of India has started providing crash courses to paramedics to prepare them to handle the third wave or any similar crisis. In Columbia, Asia and Mysore, we are offering a Nursing aide Course under the aegis of National Skill Development Corporation (Govt. of India) wherein a segment of the community fulfilling certain criteria will be trained under the capabilities of our extremely skilled nurses during their on the job training. We have partnered with a recognized skilling center to help develop a cadre of skilled workforce to help ease the gaps.  This will alleviate the challenge of human resource constraints and will help us tackle the third wave or any health crisis if it were to happen in the future more efficiently.

Remote Monitoring Solution Plays an Important Role During Pandemics

Remote Monitoring plays an essential role during pandemics. Firstly, they minimize contact between patients and care providers. Secondly, they also minimize the burden on clinicians and doctors. It provides sufficient time for clinicians and doctors to focus on critical care-centric activities as they do not need to visit a patient at the bedside every time. Remote Monitoring Solutions enable a medical practitioner to focus on critical aspects of patient care activities while also simultaneously monitoring the patient continuously, without the need to physically visit the patient at their bedside. Tele-consultations gained momentum during the pandemic and it was done successfully. However, along with teleconsultations, it would have been great if the hospitals were equipped to share live patient reports such as blood reports, ECG reports, and other vital patient information. A Remote Monitoring Solution equips you with such vital information which plays a decisive role in the course of diagnoses and treatment. Additionally, the caregiver is also protected due to less exposure and minimized contact. A remote monitoring solution with the ability to enable real-time exchange of information, especially factors that need a human touch such as auscultation sounds will be an added advantage

Digital Healthcare Is Here To Stay

Remote Monitoring and teleconsultations played a definite role in easing the burden on the healthcare sector during the pandemic and moving forward digital healthcare will further enhance this sector. Digitalization will make quality healthcare accessible to people in remote locations. It will eliminate the geographical limitation. Digital healthcare will alleviate this challenge to a large extent.

Time To Embrace Change

  • Relook at resource availability issues
  • Continuous training of care providers to keep them abreast with the latest learnings and developments by which they, in turn, can provide the best care to patients
  • Mental well-being of frontline warriors
    • Frontline warriors witnessed on average three times more deaths. This undoubtedly is a cause of great stress, coupled with the fact that they were expected to continue with their duties in a PPE kit for an entire period of approximately eight to nine hours without visiting the washroom or drinking water

Technology With Ease of Use Will Be a Game Changer

There are already multiple technologies in the healthcare sector and newer technologies will continue to make an appearance in the future too. However, not all of them will be able to sustain their position in the market. The technology that will be the simplest to use will be able to carve for itself a permanent place in the market. What does simplicity exactly mean? To put it in simple terms, for a doctor, it is the lesser the number of clicks, the better the interface. We are a digitized hospital and yet we face challenges and issues daily. Wherever the process is elaborate, or the clicks are more, or the manual inputs are plenty the handling of such technology becomes tedious and difficult. Similarly, for a patient who is seeking a consultation, there should be a single gateway to book consultations, payment of fees, access to his/her health records, etc.

In this ever-changing scenario, we have to be dynamic with our learnings and adaptations to new technologies and methodologies. During times of crisis, our long-held methodologies might not work and that is why it is extremely crucial to recognize patterns and to be open towards adaptations in the process. We cannot predict the challenges we will face in the future but if we adapt to the above lessons soon and implement the new learnings we could probably avoid a health crisis of this exhaustive nature.

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