Acting as a radical disruptor to the ‘normal’ way of doing things, the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated transformations within healthcare at an unprecedented pace. Never have hospitals and healthcare organisations been forced to change so radically in such a short period of time. We have seen critical care services being run virtually using digital technologies; organisations rapidly up-skilling staff and mobilising volunteer carers at scale; the breaking-down of workplace silos to ensure patients receive integrated care; creative architectural solutions to manage flows of people in and out of hospitals as part of infection control.
These changes have, in many instances, incorporated a fundamental redesign of services, with profound implications for both staff and patients. Although the prime catalyst for changes has been the urgent need for COVID-19 infection control, it is notable that some of these have long been priorities for healthcare systems, on which there had been limited progress prior to the pandemic. The pandemic has provided a new context that allowed previously long-held assumptions and norms about how care should be delivered to be urgently re-examined and, if necessary, changed. To support its community to realise the benefits of these changes, the International Hospital Federation established the IHF ‘Beyond COVID-19’ Task Force.
Drawing directly of the experiences of Task Force members and their networks, the IHF has published a new report offering insights into how hospitals can embrace new ways of delivering healthcare, whilst responding to the evolving coronavirus pandemic: ‘Building the ‘New Normal’: Harnessing transformative practices from the COVID-19 pandemic‘. A selection of detailed case studies accompany this publication (listed below), offering further depth to the transformative changes included the report.