Six months after the emergence of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan, the disease has claimed thousands of lives. In Latin America more than 20 countries have reduced their activities and social interaction as a measure to curb infections, while health systems have faced one of their greatest challenges in case detection and patient care.
Little by little, the world is having to adapt to a “new normal”, with three processes expected to play a lead role: disinfection, sanitation and sterilisation.
These were precisely the topics addressed during Omnia Health Live, held on 22-26 by Informa Markets, that brought together professionals from the global healthcare industry.
During the session moderated by Marcelo Boeger, Vice President of AMTSBE (World Health and Wellness Tourism Association), speakers discussed how to prevent COVID-19 infections in the post-pandemic era.
In hospital systems and environments where group activities are carried out – corporate headquarters, offices, factories, restaurants, gyms, schools and recreational facilities, among other places –practices and cleaning methods must be integrated to eradicate bacteria and viruses.
In this regard, Brian Reynolds, President, IAHCSMM, asserted that in the “new normal”, it’s essential to take steps not taken regularly in the past, and although the adaptation process can be complicated, health personnel and all concerned must get used to it.
Patty Olinger, Executive Director of GBAC, ISSA division, explained that doctors and other health service providers must implement best practices to care for patients, supported by technology for sanitising instruments, equipment and facilities.
“The situation is changing very quickly, and we have realised that we must be more careful. We must work together to avoid being exposed to contagions and we also have to find ways to restore people’s confidence in revisiting crowded places that need to resume operations, through a quality management programme based on cleaning, disinfection and sanitation in all of North America,” said Olinger.
Similarly, she explained that these protocols cover simple actions such as frequent hand washing, cleaning of facilities and furniture, and the application of antibacterial gel, to compliance strategies for organisations.
Regarding measures to shield hospitals, the president of the IFHE said that technology is an ally, since telemedicine has facilitated the care of patients through virtual appointments or the sending or prescriptions by email.
“These are emerging processes and many things will need to be transformed, but they serve as a basis for us to be prepared in the future, in case we need to face another pandemic,” the manager said.
In this regard, Jason Unger, director of the Surgical Services and Anaesthesia Institute of the Cleveland Clinic, asserted that medical personnel have to be more proactive than reactive when providing effective care to patients remotely, in addition to reviewing patient flows in clinics and hospitals to avoid the interaction of healthy and sick people, where the use of masks, face masks and gloves will also be essential.
“We have to pay attention to details that seem simple but that have become necessary to guarantee that we and patients will be protected. We must change the view that it will take us longer to do so because understanding preventative measures correctly means that this extra time is a key factor in not contaminating us. We all need to change our perspective,” concluded Unger.