Even though it has been more than three years since the world got struck by a severe pandemic, it would not be wrong to say that the world is still suffering from its aftereffects. Everyone, in one way or the other, understood the health system due to the challenges brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But, in dealing with the recent pandemic, we had a clear idea of how understaffed and lacking the health system is. A pandemic is not the only issue we’ve dealt with; even a rare disease can be hard to tackle as the patient inflow increases with minimal resources.

Usually, hospitals prepare for patient surges by having other hospitals as a backup to accommodate more patients; they call in for extra staff or trade medicines between the hospitals according to the need.

But at a point, most tactics stop being effective when backups are overwhelmed by the burden of an ongoing disease. In times like these, we must think OUT OF THE BOX and devise creative ways of addressing complex issues.

With that said, here are some ways we think hospitals can adapt to prepare themselves for any uninvited medical emergencies.

Strengthen the Vaccination System;

The initial response to COVID-19 was far from perfect but what helped to get a firm grip on the pandemic was the groundbreaking research done day and night to successfully come up with an effective, safe, cheap, and easy-to-transport vaccine.

This wasn’t possible without IVT mRNA Production, a way to produce long and stable molecules of mRNA used in various drugs, vaccines, and treatment regimens on a large scale, varying from milligrams to GRAMS or more!

According to a study, COVID-19 also led to one of the very first clinical applications of IVT mRNA. Immunization still stands to be a critical element for the prevention and treatment of several varying diseases.

Hospitals should offer every individual a complete vaccination regimen. They should also look for means to store and produce ample vaccinations. To be prepared in this field, we must keep our guards up before any disease knocks on our doors.

Vigilant Surveillance;

Early diagnosis, detection, and reporting are essential factors in breaking the transmission chain of infectious diseases. Interrupting transmission is the primary goal of controlling any epidemic with pandemic potential.

There are more than a billion unknown pathogens, and identifying each one is nearly impossible. Still, we can find solutions to common mutations with the right testing equipment and well-established laboratories. The real question is, do we have access to that technology? And if we do, is our staff well trained to use it?

The ability of any hospital to correctly diagnose an infection depends on the hospital’s disease-testing capacity. There are a lot of hospitals with the best testing kits and laboratory services, but they are limited to those diseases only which are commonly seen or reported.

So emerging diseases fail to get detected early on and are only detected once they become an issue on a big scale- A PANDEMIC. To rectify this issue, hospitals can build relations with other health centers which might have the testing tool for diseases that are not part of their wheelhouse.

An early and accurate diagnosis helps unmask potential outbreaks and allows an effective, appropriate treatment.

Protecting, Training, and Expanding the Healthcare Staff;

The central functional unit of any health system is its staff, including paramedics and nurses, lab technicians, and doctors. Just as our body, to function at its maximum potential, needs all the vital organs to work together in harmony, similarly, all these healthcare workers need to come together to form an efficient health system.

They must be ready to face all sorts of medical emergencies, big or small!

Since these workers form the frontline of our health system, they must be trained accordingly. This includes prioritizing their safety, having them first in the immunization line, availability of personal protective equipment, and scheduled checkups to look out for any symptoms.

Moreover, they must also be reassured financially and emotionally.

Strategy for Patient Volume;

Looking out for patient surges is the top priority when preparing for a pandemic, and the low accommodation issue comes with patient surges.

To tackle this challenge, it may be necessary to convert single rooms to double rooms, expedite patient discharge, and slow down the admission rates. The hospital admin could also consider converting spaces like catheterization laboratories, lobbies, or waiting rooms into patient care areas.

With the government’s help, hospital management can build temporary patient care and isolation centers in recreational centers.

Fair Allocation of Health Care Facilities;

A fair, rational, and ethical distribution of resources must be done to make the most of the limited resources. The hospitals must keep aside their mentality of ‘BUSINESS AS USUAL’ and focus on providing the best care for a higher number of patients.

To manage a large number of patients, a protocol defining the admission of patients based on a triage should be formed. It should outline that limited resources, such as mechanical ventilators or critical care kits, will also be assigned based on the triage only.

Hospitals should make strategies for the early discharge of patients to avoid overstays. Forming a legal and ethical framework for care decisions and who will make those decisions under what circumstances to avoid any unnecessary delays is essential in the passive conservation of resources.

Conclusion

Taking the measures we’ve mentioned above, hospitals can prepare themselves for future pandemics; however, an influx in patients happens every now and then when we are not facing a pandemic.

Therefore, if hospitals lay their principles on continuously improving systems while bringing all these measures into practice as a part of the everyday routine, we can reach a level of readiness without having to look out for any specific epidemic as an alert.

We believe that the critical element that will help the health system fight any health emergency is a vigilant management system that involves keeping records and staying updated with new treatment plans and technology.

Above all, timely and transparent communication so that people steer clear of myths and fake news is one of the best ways hospitals can prepare themselves for future pandemics!