We’ve analyzed the changes in the post-COVID-19 world of medicine, and compared what the scene was like before the pandemic, and we’re going to share our findings.
The health crisis caused by covid-19 in 2020 wreaked havoc on our health system, not only at the state level, but also internationally.
The impact of COVID on medicine and access to health was revealed in different ways that, in turn, we can assess from different points of view. If we take an optimistic approach, we can say that the pandemic put health systems to the test and that, despite being “on the edge”, they survived and to a greater or lesser extent, also responded successfully.
On the other hand, the effect of COVID on health systems made it glaringly clear that they have a weak structure and that they lack resources, personnel and support.
In this article we’ll investigate the most relevant aspects on which the debate on the recovery of the Spanish health system after COVID revolves.
The biggest challenges for medicine post COVID
With the pandemic thankfully behind us, we must ask ourselves what are the challenges that medicine faces after these two years and what will -or should- medical care look like in the future
1. Strengthen the Healthcare System
The Spanish healthcare model boasts of being one of the best in the world. Not surprisingly, the WHO places it in seventh place in its world top 10. In part, such a privileged position in this ranking is due to the fact that the management of the health system responds to a decentralized model and this allows essential care to be available to all citizens.
While this model works well, it can also lead to a lack of coordination between internal and external agencies.
To alleviate this undesired effect, it would be ideal to build new specific public health agencies, strengthen communication between health personnel and researchers, and strengthen collaboration between public and private entities. Some experts advocate the creation of «independent, impartial and external agencies that have the voice of all the fundamental agents», while others affirm -without this premise being incompatible with the previous one- that a more harmonized global administration is necessary, since in Europe, each country works with different standards.
This lack of synchrony is also observed at the state level – waiting lists are notoriously different between the autonomous communities. In this sense, improved coordination at the state level would have a very positive effect on waiting times for patients who need access to any medical treatment.
2. Improve Primary Care
Experts also agree that more resources need to be allocated to Primary Care and to support the staff in this area, implementing telemedicine tools, virtual consultation and telecare, as well as remote monitoring of certain health indicators.
In this sense, it is also essential that medicine ceases to be a tool that is only intended to cure to become a more preventive and proactive resource. Early diagnoses guarantee an improvement in the health of all patients and, in turn, a reduction in costs for the system and allow doctor and patient to maintain a horizontal relationship in which decision making is shared.
3. Telemedicine within everyone's reach
After covid-19, it’s clear that it is absolutely essential for the health system to continue advancing in digitization processes, both in the public and private sectors.
Although in Spain there has been talk of telemedicine since 2015 -or even before- and little by little some telemedicine tools have been implemented in public health, such as electronic prescriptions and access to more efficient digital portals (such as La Meva Salut in Catalonia, or My Health Folder in Madrid), it is necessary that we continue advancing on this path towards a hybrid model.
However, this will only be possible if patients, health personnel and authorities work and develop in unison. For this reason, it is necessary to allocate resources, firstly, to the implementation of telemedicine platforms and, secondly, to training and access to knowledge of new technologies aimed at both citizens and healthcare professionals.
4. Speed up medical results
We cannot consider an immediate future in which waiting times for health results has not been improved. Although during the pandemic the efficiency of the health system was evaluated according to the number of beds available in hospitals or by the number of tests carried out, it is obvious that we must adopt a change of perspective and measure the success of the system through other more humanistic variables.
Delays in obtaining results collapse the system and negatively affect the health of patients, in some cases even irreversibly. For this reason, and in line with the aspects that we discussed in previous sections, we face the challenge of digitizing the health system so that patients can obtain their results without having to go to the physical consultation to reduce waiting lists.
5. Humanization of the patient
While the system moves towards a hybrid model where both telemedicine and traditional medicine go hand in hand, proximity to patients should also be put on the table, since they constitute an essential agent within the system and during the pandemic, at times, they have been able to feel displaced and little listened to.
Indeed, it is necessary for patients to be able to be more actively involved in decision-making, both in those that concern their health status and in the design of new strategies and policies. If you want to know more, read our article on the «Keys to the humanization of the virtual consultation».
Docline helps you face new challenges
As you can see, although the world of post-COVID-19 medicine seems to be predominantly dominated by new technologies, we must propose a way of seeing the reality of the patient in a holistic and comprehensive way in which all variables that make up a person’s health are taken into account, such as mental, social and spiritual health, life habits, economic situation, the possibility of accessing public or private resources… and not just graphs, numbers and test results.
With Docline it is much easier to carry out these measures thanks to our Telemedicine Software, which offers you tools to improve the management of patients in your business.