The next three epochs: Health system challenges amidst and beyond the COVID-19 era

This article was originally published here

Int J Health Plann Manage. 2021 Apr 17. doi: 10.1002/hpm.3175. Online ahead of print.


The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to light tremendous gaps and issues faced by health systems globally. Commendable effort has been made to retain continuity of care for non-COVID-19 patients amidst the pandemic, particularly using technology-enhanced models of care. However, these efforts are not sufficient to tackle the impending challenges that health systems around the world will face next: (1) vaccine uptake and hesitancy; (2) a mental health crisis; and (3) post-COVID-19 migration. In this letter to the editor, explanation of why each of these issues is concerning and how each subsequent issue grows in severity is provided. Particular focus on the issue of post-COVID-19 migration is made, as this challenge is quite pressing to health systems but has yet to be explored thoroughly in the literature. Possible strategies for health system planners to consider are provided in this letter. Strategies include involving stakeholders such as patients and clinicians in deliberations and deployment of interventions, focussing efforts on adapting primary health systems, and building on technology-enhanced models of care where possible. By adhering to the recommendations made in this letter, health systems may be able to proactively deal with the identified challenges before they become crises of their own, post COVID-19.

PMID:33864300 | DOI:10.1002/hpm.3175