When talking about the future of healthcare, one of the questions I’m most often asked is what lessons have we learned from the COVID-19 pandemic? I recently joined American Medical Association President Dr. Susan Bailey and The Economist’s Health Reporter Slavea Chankova, for a discussion at Collision 2021 Conference on this topic. In our virtual session, “Are we prepared for future pandemics?” we discussed where the U.S. healthcare system fell short – but also the incredible achievements of our healthcare workers and researchers to combat the coronavirus.
We discussed some clear lessons that stand out from our experience that can help us better prepare – and motivate us to be better prepared – before we face something like this again:
- Working together helps decrease potential roadblocks and improve outcomes for patients. We need better collaboration and coordination at the federal, state and local level and we must create an emergency response system that contemplates long-term pandemic scenarios, not just natural disasters and short-term crisis events.
- We must follow the science and understand that discoveries and learning about a disease like COVID-19, and how to manage it, are happening in real time and, as a result, evolve. Instead of castigating scientific experts for changing their mind, we should praise them for staying open minded and absorbing new evidence.
- Healthcare workers carried us all through this emergency. They saved countless lives and have shown incredible resiliency and compassion. They not only deserve our thanks, but our care and support as they recover from what is likely the most stressful and difficult experience of their careers.
- We must work to eliminate health disparities and better manage chronic health conditions, so people aren’t at such great and unnecessary risk.
You can watch my full conversation with Dr. Bailey and Slavea here:
Originally published in LinkedIn.