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How hospitals can meet the demand during the pandemic of non-COVID patients?

Hospitals can meet the demand during the pandemic

Published on : Oct-2022

How hospitals can meet the demand during the pandemic of non-COVID patients

With the commencement of the Covid-19 pandemic, hospitals around the world shifted resources from regular hospice intensive care and outpatient clinics to satisfy the spike in demand. Due to the ensuing resource limitations and fear of infection, physicians and non-COVID patients postponed "non - emergency" appointments, tests, diagnostics, surgery, and therapy. Evidently, throughout the early times of the pandemic, doctors and senior public health officials observed a drastic decrease in non-COVID-related health emergencies, including a rise of more than 60% in patients with acute myocardial infarction and stroke.

While it may seem that the number of patients has drastically reduced, but this, however, is not the case. Patients have stopped filling their drug prescriptions due to the fear of pharmacies or financial restraints. Mental-health problems have started to flare up as the economy worsens and people have been trapped in their homes for weeks. It is also being said that later in the year, hospitals are going to be flooded with regular patients as they will require more intensive care and hospitalization which will further stress the available capacity of the hospitals.

To avoid the undue problems and to bestow care to Non-COVID patients, we have come up with few suggestions.

  1. Develop more ground-breaking methods to deal with outpatients to avoid clogs

Outpatient physicians should broaden their great coverage of patients at high risk of requiring acute or inpatient treatment to eliminate potential inefficiencies in emergency departments (EDs) and hospitals. It would help reduce the possible future demand for EDs and inpatient beds from non-COVID patients. Although most practitioners have rapidly embraced some sort of telemedicine, they will still need to expand their digital interaction with high-risk patients in a more focused manner. Health professionals should review their patient groups to recognize high-risk individuals and facilitate telemedicine appointments, rather than depend on patients to start conversations, similar to the pro-active disease management approach used by a variety of community health care organizations.           

  1. All the essential Non-COVID services to be concentrated at specific centres

To meet demand across hospitals, health care professionals can implement a variant of the logistics technique known as "location pooling" that incorporates criteria from different locations. Instead of each hospital in an area delivering redundantly a complete range of critical inpatient non-COVID health services, each of these services should be centralized at one venue. For example, in a region a centre should deal with dialysis, another should deal with another specific disease, and so on, rather than one hospital serving all the patients. However, the plan is full of obstacles, as hospitals are generally structured independently and contend with each other for patients and revenue. Location pooling ensures that every critical service remains completely operational for routine emergencies while adjusting to complex shifts in hospital resources in the region. Location pooling eliminates the volatility of service-specific demand faced by each hospital. As the demand for specific non-COVID services in an individual hospital falls, hospital administrators can close these services and re-establish the special care capacity of Covid-19 patients.

  1. Categorize and segregate all the hospitalized Covid-19 patients based on their condition

Around the same time, the hospitals must put their Covid-19 patients with severe underlying medical conditions in the same category as other Covid-19 patients. In each of these 'cohorted offices,' re-deployed clinical personnel from the related speciality facilities will provide critical speciality care alongside physicians serving COVID-specific patient care needs.

While such cohorting reduces the productivity benefits from pooling all Covid-19 patients in a single unit, it retains specialized treatment for patients who do need it, while at the same time the increased inpatient space burden arising from scattered patients across the hospital. However, prior work indicates that the relocation of patients from cohort speciality units is linked with extended hospital stays and more frequent referrals.

  1. Discharge patients for the post-acute treatment depending on the status of Covid-19

Maternity home, rehabilitation centre, and long-term acute care facility management must work together to create separate regional, specialized, post-acute care facilities for both Covid-19 and non-COVID patients. Sending patients to specific post-acute care facilities based on their Covid-19 status would promote the preparation of discharges, increasing the movement of patients out of the hospital for both Covid-19 and non-COVID patients. It would ease pressure on ED and hospital bottlenecks while improving the standard of treatment. Besides, providing dedicated post-acute care facilities for Covid-19 patients would improve post-acute care capacity for those recovering from non-COVID diseases while at the same time reducing their risk of getting infected.

Fatpos Global predicts that the above-mentioned measures are likely to curb the spread of Covid-19 as well as ensure better access to healthcare facilities to the Non-COVID patients and prevent the economy from suffering the next pandemic after Covid-19.

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