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Building sustainable healthcare systems essential for crisis

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It is time to be proactive in planning sustainable future responses to community and health emergencies which are inextricably connected.

An extraordinary burden was placed on the healthcare community as the COVID-19 crisis kept unfolding over the past year and a half, affecting 219 million people and causing 4.5 million deaths, many of whom were frontline workers. It put tremendous pressure on the existing healthcare systems across the world leading to many instances of collapse, which led to people being left without the needed care. It is now apparent that we must build a resilient and sustainable healthcare system across countries that can withstand such crisis.

As we witnessed in Dubai, agility in addressing key needs, swift and thorough implementation of risk mitigation strategy supported by smart management of resources, talents, public-private partnership and fast implementation of digital tools, supported by conducive policies became imperative to bring back stability into the healthcare system. Today, Dubai has emerged as a world leader in efficient management of the pandemic and Expo 2020 Dubai provides confidence to the world to think beyond COVID-19.

With patients increasingly wanting to access healthcare services from the comfort of their homes or work, many hospitals and healthcare providers have pivoted with the implementation of digitised, virtual solutions to strengthen logistics and better serve customers remotely. This model of care enables provider communities to reach a wider customer base beyond geographical boundaries and addresses the key concern of access to quality care. This also ensures delivery of high-quality, cost-effective care; and maximise precious resources by reducing spending on physical infrastructure.

For example, by enabling the availability of virtual and/or AI-powered healthcare services, digitised solutions such as telemedicine, have successfully impacted the primary care model of seeking an appointment, consulting the doctor, accessing lab tests, accomplishing the purchase/delivery of prescription medicine, and shifting care to patient homes. Many believe that the next 10 years may prove to be the decade when digital technology will reshape the health system, as strong continued uptake, favourable consumer perception, and tangible investment in this space contribute to the continued growth of telehealth and digital solutions in 2021.

Another prerequisite for resilient health systems is to move towards low-carbon healthcare – decarbonising the health sector and integrating environmental safety as a transversal element into the way we deliver care. Moving to onsite renewables or purchasing energy-efficient medical devices, for example, will not only reduce emissions but also improve energy security in times of disaster. The Expo 2020 Dubai brilliantly explains how sustainability is the future for mankind. The Sustainability District has some of the world’s most advanced technology in action where countries champion sustainability and show how the human race can enjoy living in harmony with nature in a high-tech future.

While we aim to build a world-class sustainable healthcare system it would be pertinent to keep the 5s theory in mind: Safety – a place where global standards are met; Savings – getting the same quality or better quality of affordable care; Speed – better quality of life with a shorter waiting time; Service – a place with higher service and Staff – skilled labour.

Our concept of sustainability at Aster DM Healthcare is to build a sustainable future by giving back to the societies while defining a path that creates shared values benefitting the organisation, community, and the environment. It goes without saying that now is the time to be proactive in planning sustainable future responses to environmental and health emergencies which are inextricably connected.

Ms Alisha Moopen , Deputy Managing Director , Aster DM Healthcare Picture (1).jpg

Alisha Moopen

This article appears in the latest issue of Omnia Health Magazine. Read the full issue online today.

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