It has been more than six months since the world first became aware of the fatal coronavirus. Over the next two months, the pandemic had spread to more than half the countries across the world putting a considerable strain on global health care systems. Even as hundreds and thousands of people across the globe have contracted the illness and tens and thousands lost their lives, the pandemic continues to spread to newer areas threatening the health and well-being of countless other people.
As humanity fights this crisis of unprecedented proportion, the healthcare sector has become the rallying point for governments, communities, and individuals. In fact, many experts are of the opinion that the best way to understand the impact of COVID-19 on the health sciences industry especially in terms of the changes the sector has incurred before and after the pandemic struck.
Healthcare Sector Before COVID-19
The health care sector was making rapid advances globally before the onset of the COVID-19 crisis. The integration of the latest technologies and the focus on improving infrastructure facilities to make them more patient-friendly was paving the way for value-based care delivered in an innovative and highly efficient manner.
The changing patient demographics and the need to simplify complex healthcare ecosystems were resulting in the creation of a whole new range of job options within the sector. The overall increase in the demand for effective healthcare at the grassroots levels also impacted the approach of institutes providing courses in this field. Overall, the industry was on the cusp of various significant changes that were set to overhaul the concept of healthcare access and quality.
Healthcare Sector After COVID-19
As COVID-19 started taking the world in its grip, even the most advanced healthcare systems crumbled under its force. The new challenges presented by the pandemic also highlighted the various drawbacks within these systems, especially their inability to deal with a health crisis of such humongous proportions. In addition to the lack of basic medical supplies such as masks, PPE kits, ventilators, and even hospital beds, the shortage of healthcare professionals capable of managing the patients, complicated the situation further.
In many cases, authorities were forced to appeal to professionals having completed a Master of Public Health course and other such qualifications to volunteer for assisting frontline medical workers and creating awareness among the masses. Another major drawback that came to fore during the pandemic was the lack of coordination between the healthcare systems within and between different countries, which further paved the way for the spread of the disease.
Changes To Expect In The Post COVID-19 Healthcare Systems
There is no doubt about the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought the global healthcare systems to their knees. However, it has also created awareness about the steps that need to be taken by medical communities to prevent the repetition of such crises in the future. In India, for instance, demand for clinical research is likely to gain a big boost. Similarly, professional healthcare management within communities is also likely to grow in demand. This is in addition to the growth in the demand for more effective public healthcare facilities and the focus on ensuring the easy availability of medical supplies and equipment in large enough quantities.
The focus should be on investing in technologies that simplify the process of disease surveillance, strengthening the supply chain, and most importantly improving healthcare education. The importance of having professionals capable of using technology for efficient assessment of large volumes of data and information or even managing the healthcare systems during a crisis was never felt more as in the current times. That is why it has become critical for the concerned authorities to review the healthcare education policies and systems and even replace them with more relevant ones.
Since the change is initiated at the institutional level, colleges and schools offering B.Sc. Clinical Research and Healthcare or other similar degrees need to make changes to their curriculum first. They need to shoulder the responsibility of contributing to building a healthcare system that is strong and developed enough to face such challenges in the future. For this, they need to start offering industry-aligned courses that prepare professionals to overcome future challenges. These institutions can minimize the threat to human life by equipping prospective professionals with the requisite skills and knowledge for managing similar crises.