New ways of thinking about health service delivery
Health services were stressed to the limit during this crisis, which still has no end date. Even before it started, the system already faced pressure that will continue even after it ends, also due to the aging of the population, the growing burden of non-communicable diseases, spending restrictions, increasingly strict regulations and a shortage of professionals in the market.
It is estimated that by 2030 there will be a deficit of more than 18 million health professionals, which may be even greater due to the impacts brought by COVID-19 and issues related to the way in which care is traditionally organized and provided.
The health system in Brazil, as in many other countries, is poorly designed, with little focus on working to prevent diseases and proactively treat its users. Most of these services end up being reactive and configured to treat acute moments related to aggravations of pre-existing diseases.
The pandemic has brought new ways of thinking, forcing leaders to meet an unprecedented demand of such complexity and use of system resources.
Which of these solutions will help take health care into the future?
It took a global event to create social change, which would usually take years to materialize, and everything was established in weeks. We would dare to say that we will be much more involved in the health management of the population than in the management of isolated units.
Before the pandemic, some organizations were already mobilizing to meet the new health needs, bringing reforms to their facilities and taking advantage of the new technologies available to improve the experience of their users. Some of these services have also worked closely with community stakeholders to address vital demands outside hospitals.
Medicine will change in the coming years and as we improve our understanding of system and service integration, with a robust structuring of algorithms for collecting data that really have an effect, this will significantly change the way we care for people based on their factors personal risk factors.
Bringing health to people will be the major effort to increase the effectiveness of the system. Among these strategies, the implementation of digital health is of great relevance.
We need to keep in mind that large companies that buy healthcare services will continue to fundamentally change the way they buy services. There is no doubt that the shift to value-based care has not been negatively affected by COVID-19. In fact, the ability to enter the digital world must be an overlap between how providers have changed their care and how buyers expect their beneficiaries to receive the best care.
Dr. Bruno Cavalcanti Farras
Dr. Elizabeth Reis